Review by Marilyn Barber
I always think that Cinderella, arguably the most popular panto, is the hardest one to stage.
Everyone is so familiar with the rags to riches story with its magical transformations that producers have to come up with something that little bit different.
And thanks to director and writer Chris Jarvis – who also plays Buttons – Lighthouse has succeeded.
Set in the Hardup Hall Hotel on Ye Old Poole Quay, things get off to a good start when Lauren Azania bursts onto the stage as the Fairy Godmother. With theatre credits including Diana Ross in Magic of Mowtown, Lauren has just the voice to belt out numbers, but she is skilful at engaging with the audience too.
Last year Charlotte Wood made her professional debut in Beauty and the Beast and made such a big impression that she was invited back to play Cinderella this year. With her stunning voice, she captures beautifully the essence of this put upon character who deservedly captures her prince.
It wouldn’t be panto in Poole without Chris Jarvis, with a presence that engages adults and children alike, impishly drawing the audience into the magic of this genre.
Well-known to audiences of TV’s Outnumbered, Tyger Drew-Honey is as handsome as you would expect from Prince Charming, and this his first dip into panto, will certainly not be his last.
Alex Vass has the chance to display his wide talents, as a singer and musician as Dandini, with Bournemouth resident Simon Rawlings putting a lot of enthusiasm into the role of Baron Hardup.
Just when you think the sisters can’t get any uglier and more outrageous– they do.
With imagination defying costumes, the very tall Andrew Pollard (as Nadine) – who has been a panto star for 25 years – teams brilliantly with the very much shorter Alim Jadavji as Doris. Costume maker Frank Kershaw must be given accolades for producing such original outfits.
Graduates from Arts University Bournemouth, Tilda Collecott as apprentice fairy Rosa, and Ethan Cawthorn as apprentice fairy Puck, clearly have the talent to go on to bigger roles in the future.
The dancers, Freya Goridge, Olivia Colbert, Jamie Mitchell-Wiggins, Abbey Stewart and Ruby Whitmarsh all add to the glamour and glitz of this tremendously good panto.
There is plenty of magic, beautiful costumes and Cinders even gets to fly before riding to the ball in a carriage drawn by ponies Storm and Buddy.
As with all pantos there is a bit of rudeness to appeal to the children, and some innuendo for parents, and of course there had to be a reference to Matt Hancock.
Running until 31 December, it’s another winner for Lighthouse.
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