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NODA review: Cinderella, December 2015

NODA representative, Jon Fox, reviews the December 2015 production of Cinderella by The Nomads at The Nomad Theatre in Surrey (find us).

The NOMADS pantomime – “Cinderella” by Peter Denyer

Nomad Theatre – December, 2015

“A company with several young principals has pros and cons from a director’s point of view. Young people bring enthusiasm, generally remember their lines, but many lack experience on stage. However, director Andrew Hamel-Cooke cast his company extremely well and the five teenage principals all showed talent.
Millie Franks excelled as Dandini and, though only 18, has dandini millie reviewbeen with Nomads since age 7 and seems born to be on stage, cockney accent and all! Her performance was a comic delight and she dominated every scene she was in – a star player indeed.
uglies reviewElla Kay as Mona and Lisa Arnold as Grizelda, the two uglies, were a wonderful team as the evil stepsisters. Despite being females of course they were truly awful to poor Cinderella and readily won boos. I much liked their comic touches and their costumes were way over the top and therefore most effective, though I felt Ella was a little too “pretty” for my taste – a wart or spots would have added ugliness!
Young Sheree Paton at only 16 was a good all rounder as Cinderella. She sang, moved and acted with talent and presence well beyond her tender years. She was goodness personified in real contrast to her evil stepsisters.cinderella review
New to the Nomads, 18 year old Robb Green was a most likeable, even endearing Buttons. His stage “vulnerability” effectively deflected his leading man looks, not a quality Buttons ever needs. Definite talent here. His efforts to fill in time while Cinders changed costumes will prove to be a valuable experience.group cinders review
Matthew Scanlan was most effective as Baron Hardup despite looking young. His wife Baroness Hardup was given a dominant and evil persona in a beautifully crafted performance by Vykki Mash, with quite marvellous diction and timing. She also looked too pretty though for this important role.
Sarah Wilson as Prince Charming did well too, though she was a little “girly” and I would have preferred more attack in the part.
A budding star is 13 year old Charlotte Cawley as the Fairy Godmother. She opened the Panto and her diction and timing were excellent.
Colin Barnard did well as the Chamberlain as did Hazel Eve as Swing.
The chorus sang and danced with enthusiasm and the very young “babes” were pretty with the “ahh” factor. Choreographer Alannah Winn-Taylor got the most from them and devised clever dance routines.
Musical director Charles Garland on keyboards with Katie Godsmark on drums gave all the necessary support and the music and singing generally were good.
The stage sets were most effectively designed, constructed and scene changes were swiftly handled by the in-house crew. The transformation scene as Cinderella was magically sent to the ball was especially effective. Lighting by Tony and Dee Bowdery worked splendidly.
cinders fairies review
I must commend the costumes and wigs which were a splendid array of bright panto colours with a gorgeous frock for Cinders at the ball and some outrageously OTT ones for Mona and Grizelda. Buttons, Fairy Godmother, Baroness, Prince Charming and Dandini too all looked really good. Jennie Hamel-Cooke, Elizabeth Cross, Kirsten Wiggins and Jay Forsyth – I salute you all!
In the highly experienced control of Andrew Hamel-Cooke as Director, many of the young performers will have learned much about pantomime. There is no substitute for being thrown into the deep end, as it were and I am pleased to report that all proved to be strong swimmers. Andrew’s traditional production with all the usual “business” contained all the vital necessary ingredients. The false leg is a well worn trick but was skilfully handled and the ghost scene, done most traditionally is always funny, if well timed, as here. The team spirit on stage, backstage and front of house was very evident. Panto is my favourite stage genre and this most enjoyable evening once again confirmed my own love of this uniquely British art form.”
John Fox

NODA District 19

The Nomads are members of NODA, which has a membership of 2500 amateur theatre groups and 3000 individual enthusiasts throughout the UK, staging musicals, operas, plays, concerts and pantomimes in a wide variety of performing venues, ranging from the country’s leading professional theatres to tiny village halls.