Colin Lawrence reviews Cinderella

by Chris Shinn and Julie Petrucci
performed by Waterbeach Community Players
directed by Julie Petrucci


These days we're used to hearing the term 'community theatre' to describe large-scale productions featuring sometimes hundreds of performers. People often forget that community theatre is actually not that new and that many communities have been producing such shows in the shape of village pantomimes for many years. Waterbeach Community Players are one such company and are old hands at panto. This year's offering, CINDERELLA, written and directed by Julie Petrucci was once again a fun-filled family show aimed at kids from 3 to 103.

I won't bother to reiterate the story. If you don't know it, you should be ashamed of yourself... Oh, yes you should... As well as Cinders herself (Alison Ash) all the firm favourites put in an appearance, Baron Hardupp (Roy Furness, looking quite posh even though he didn't have two ha'pennies to rub together), his evil other half (Val Furness - playing completely against type), the cheerful and love-struck Buttons (Simon Jones, with a smile as wide as the A14 and a stage presence to match) and of course the essential Ugly Sisters (Chris Shinn and Stephen Smith) whose comic interaction with the audience and themselves was the highlight of the evening. With make-up verging on the grotesque and dresses and wigs to match, these two actors not only looked comfortable in their roles and outfits, but convinced this reviewer that were indeed born to play this dreadful duo.

With a supporting cast too numerous to mention by name, played by several WCP stalwarts as well as a lot of new faces, this production provided just the right balance of experience and freshness. The colourful costumes were a credit to Marion Kilby. The musical numbers and dance routines were deftly executed whilst the jokes ranged from the highly amusing to the downright corny. The settings were bright and cheerful and the lighting 'spot on' (in more ways than one when torchlight came on as substitute in the first half of the Saturday evening performance courtesy of a local power failure - thankfully the electricity supply was restored fairly quickly). When the lights went out rather abruptly the cast were quick to jump in with appropriate ad-libs to keep the action flowing. Congratulations to Dandini (Jane Stewart) and Prince Charming (Cath Perkins) who took the interruption in their stride and full marks to Lighting Operators Andy Moore and Peter Papworth for keeping the show going.

The coach transformation scene was well handled and the pumpkin coach looked splendid.

There were nice cameo performances from Bill Bullivant and Martin Andrus as Broker's Men, Linda Smith as Hark, the Herald and Philip Law and Sue Smith as the king and Queen who both looked suitably regal. Wendy Croft as Fairy Godmother kept a twinkle in her eye as well as her wand to provide some nice linking material including a well-delivered 'cod' TV presentation at the Royal Ball. The youngsters in the cast (and there were lots of them) and the 'chorus' acquitted themselves well playing assorted Attendants, Footmen, Pages, Courtiers and Goblins.

Once again WCP demonstrated their ability to produce an entertaining seasonal offering with the emphasis firmly on local talent of all ages and experience.

Waterbeach Theatre Company
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Waterbeach School
Cambridge CB25 9JU

Phone: 01223 880023

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