Cinderella pantomime gets the festive season off to perfect start

‘Cinderella’ lifted the roof of Kirriemuir Town Hall last week.

The Kirriemuir Panto Group production contained all the elements of a traditional panto - audience participation, corny jokes, slapstick and the action song, not to mention singing and dancing of high quality. All good stuff.

The Panto Group has a very good mix of youth and experience on the stage and with a first class production team they certainly get the best out of the cast.

Buttons has a pivotal role in the production and young Andrew Smith acted his part very well, engaging with the audience and getting their sympathy vote.

Rob Hardman made a convincing Baron Hardup who, for some reason, found his wife’s ranting and raving appealing.

Jennifer Anderson was perfectly cast as his wife Lady Devilia Hardup - a complete harridam and bully.

However, in grand pantomime fashion, a sprinkling of fairy dust in the end changed her completely.

Paula Milne as the fairy godmother was no shrinking violet. She played her character as a sassy in-your-face American - a bit reminiscent of Ruby Wax - and did it very well.

Dandini (Nichola O’Connor) and Prince Charming (Naiomi Weir) were elegant and not only looked the part but played their roles to perfection.

Snitch and Snatch, the brokers trying to get money out of Baron Hardup, were played by Thomas Fullerton and James Dobbie. They were a good double act with a bit of chemistry between them. Well done lads!

Major Domo (Victoria Johnston) had a small part and played it well.

Kirrie Dumpling - what a good name for a pantomime horse - was ‘animated’ by Andy Menmuir and Thomas Thain. It was ‘neigh’ bother to them.

Jess Hider in the title role of Cinderella looked the part and acted well throughout. In the end she got her Prince Charming - no thanks to Beryl and Cheryl, her ugly sisters played by Jim Walker and James Arnott.

The pair of them have previous as pantomime dames and were naturals for the parts.

The Ugly Sisters, in a way, hold the story together while ensuring the audience is fully involved. Jim and James did this to perfection, there was a real rapport between them and they were ideally cast.

The 24 strong chorus and the eight dangers were well drilled and made a huge positive contribution to the production.

A few of the highlights worth mentioning were the ‘St. Trinians’ Dance’, a wonderful arrangement of ‘I’m a believer’ involving the entire company, the ‘Can Can’ and the pyrotechnic Royal Wedding at the finale.

The costumes in the palace ballroom scene were stunning, as they were for the Royal Wedding. Hiring costumes is a big outlay but is worth every penny when it enhances the enjoyment of a well-produced show - and this was such a show.

The production team are to be congratulated. Gary Lawrence as musical director, Stephanie Hunter as choreographer and Helen Shearer as vocal tutor all had a massive input.

Jim Walker and Chris Smillie as co-producers deserve a great deal of credit for fitting together the parts of a jigsaw which became a truly memorable show.

A production of this size involves not only the cast but a vast army of people back stage and front of house. The stage crew are to be congratulated on their slick screen changes. Probably 100 or so people are involved during Panto Week which makes it a great community effort - long may it continue.

You know what they say, “You can beat an egg, you can beat a carpet, but you can’t beat a good old traditional panto!”

Bill Drew