Ventnor Theatre Group’s latest show was a unique spin on the classic pantomime Cinderella, giving it a modern reconfiguration and setting it in a concert style. It was an adventurous undertaking by director Joe Plumb who not only wrote the script, but also adapted the lyrics of popular musical theatre and pop songs to fit the classic Cinderella storyline. Not only was it modernised in songs and story, but also in the technical aspects. There was minimal set, the main focus being a gigantic electronic screen fitted to the back of the stage. This was used to great effect throughout the show to create not only various backdrops such as a marketplace and a bathroom, but also to bring our modern digital world into the story. The facetime calls from the remarkably evil-stepmother, played by Sharon Lock, were very effective.
The ‘concert-vibe’ kicked-in from the start, with members of the cast lining the aisle holding flags. The aisle was used throughout which added to the immersive feel of the show as a whole. As the beat of music grew louder the cast began waving their flags as Cinderella led them down onto the stage to meet the Fairy Godmother. Jacqui Swallows gave a highly humorous performance as Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother and brought a lot of energy and professionalism to the role. She was accompanied by the eye-catching and entertaining Pumpkin (Paul Smith) and the three Mice (Abigail Hennings, Bryony Davies and Briony Andrew) who acted as sassy backup singers, especially in the opening song, an adaption of ‘Ex-Wives’ from Six the Musical.
Ashleigh Hunt-Davis had the starring role of Cinderella and was amazing! Her beautiful singing voice, matched with her outstanding acting ability made her eye-catching and a pleasure to watch. One of the most impressive moments of the show was her rendition of ‘She Used To Be Mine’ from Waitress, alongside her father played by the hilarious Peter Stockman. The love interest of the show was the classic Prince Charming played by the loveable Charlie Merricks. The part suited him well and his song ‘All He Cares About Is Love’ from Chicago demonstrated his passionate singing voice.
Jasmine Brooks and Hilary Roche played the evil step-sisters Beatrice and Eugenie. They were first introduced in a stunning performance of ‘Candy Store’ from Heathers the Musical with both demonstrating impressive vocal ability throughout. Whenever the comedy duo were on stage, they commanded the action and were hilarious; their marvellous characterisation showed how truly evil the stepsisters could be.
Praise must also be given to the ensemble and the Princesses for their vivacious performance throughout all of the songs. One of our particular favourite moments was their rendition of ‘Royals’ by Lorde during the interval of the show. Cara Goodrem played the guitar whilst the rest of the chorus sang along in perfect harmony. This moment of live music was one of the highlights of the evening. Another moment of ensemble excellence was the ‘Spell Block Tango’, a reinterpretation of the ‘Cell Block Tango’ from Chicago. All six of the performers sang excellently and were clearly passionate about their character’s stories.
All in all, the show made for a great evening of live entertainment. Whilst there were some scenes where the pace slackened and the storyline wasn’t always easy to follow, the show’s song list gets you into the party mood! The ‘PantoRemix‘ has landed!
Tickets are still available for the remaining performances online or on the door: Sat 14th at 7.30pm, and Sun 15th Dec at 2.30pm.