Cinderella – Noda Review

Wadhurst Dramatic Club

Wadhurst Commemoration Hall

Saturday 3rd February 2024 matinee

Cinderella written by Ben Crocker

Director: Russ Kirton

Musical Director: Xan Kite

Choreographer: Clarice Wale

I was delighted to be back again to visit Wadhurst Dramatic Club, to be welcomed by Russ and join the large audience ready to enjoy the magic of this year’s panto. A familiar story told in rhyme by a lovely Fairy Godmother in her swishing white gown, bolero over, pretty wings, attractive powdered wig together with a pair of gold rimmed specs at the end of her nose. A light-hearted and mischievous performance from Xan Kite, who also took on the role of MD with well-chosen and executed numbers throughout to backing tracks. We also really enjoyed singing along to the community ‘Pizza Hut and McDonalds’ song with drop down words.

The side hinged flats were simply painted depicting village cottages which were easily reversed becoming a green forest. Backdrops were good for both the Baron’s Kitchen and the Ballroom scene including the centrally struck clock from the artistry of Antony Hart and Elicia Osbourne designing and painting.

Prince Charming  was ably played by Lucie Payne pairing well together with aide Dandini – Clarice Wale appearing together in blue breeches, tailcoats and hose, again powdered wigs looking most dapper, who swop the royal sash causing identification confusion! Clarice was also responsible for the movement of the cast and set sequences that were modern containing sharp hand gestures – well done to the younger members of the cast who knew their lyrics and routines that we all enjoyed. Young Buttons was played extremely well by Duke Kirton taking on the responsibility of working the audience with his welcome words with the very vocal audience replying – one little boy stole the show by his constant replies of ‘Hello Buttons’ which was just loved. Duke played the shy, awkward Buttons who had a soft spot for Cinders and helped her along the way. A very funny and athletic kitchen scene ending with  buckets on both feet and using mops to balance was exceedingly good and had  obviously been well rehearsed. Cinderella was delightfully portrayed by Sophie Jones who sang some lovely numbers both solos and duets, working her transition scene perfectly into an attractive bright blue ball gown, with a giant pumpkin becoming the golden carriage pulled by cast members dressed all in white – quite a magical scene.

The Broker’s Men were Snitch and Snatch a comedy double act with Amanda Dann who trains the younger members with such passion and Bobby Jeal another regular using the central aisle for their rendition of  ‘Me and My Shadow.’

 Cheryl and Beryl were the terrible two – the Ugly Sisters – twins expelled from school  with both Tony Bailey and Antony Hart revelling in their characters. Their makeup and hair dos were wonderfully awful as were their tights and tutus. Loved the accents, the corn and the slap stick particularly the beauty regime scene. Their opening a,b,c plan for the audience to agree ‘they were beautiful’ went down a treat with small water pistols, slightly larger ones and then the threat of a full bucket. We enjoyed booing their nasty stepmother Lady Devilia who thought she might marry off one of her delightful daughters but of course she and the terrible two were thwarted as the silver slipper only fitted one young lady and she was the one that fled the ball on the stroke of midnight. Joe Roper with a strong singing voice created  the poor, downtrodden husband  Baron Hardup. The delightful cameo role of Major Domo was played by Georgia Ajayi projecting her voice with conviction. In the hopes of making some money in the form of a supposed finely tuned racehorse we had the ‘Wadhurst Warrior’ better known as ‘Dumpling’ with Rosie Payne and Esmee Rowland-Carthew trotting together. Another  ‘ah’ factor of the afternoon. As in true panto fashion true love reigns, the baddies become good, the Baron becomes rich and invites Buttons into partnership. A very happy ending.

The members of the ensemble, dressed mainly in a combination of red and white together with the young Dramatiks are to be congratulated on their hard work for their big numbers with routines to remember plus lovely characters including the spiders. Set changes by the stage crew team worked well, the lighting cues, effects and sounds were created and operated by Russ and Isaac Blakeley aloft. The script was not always clear and stronger projection was needed particularly as it was a full house with a lot of audience participation and rustling of sweet and crisp papers. The large team of costumiers worked their magic too dressing everyone so appropriately as did Russ drawing the whole performance together for the audience to enjoy a happy and funny afternoon. Thank you to all those managing backstage, the props team,  cast, front of house, for your hospitality and continued endeavours, and to Nick Dann for his simple, colourful A4  programme covering criteria to enter our annual NODA programme and poster competition.

A précis of this Report will be posted on the NODA SE website shortly.

Anne Lawson

Regional Representative


District 3

National Operatic and Dramatic Association

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