Saw Cinderella on Sunday afternoon at Circa. I’ve been to Circa’s annual pantomime for a few years, but this was the first time on a Sunday afternoon so the ratio of kids to adults was around 1:1. In previous years it has been an evening session with only a couple of dozen kids. This meant the audience noise level was extremely high – but in a good way.
The Rutherfords steal the show with their comic abilities. Lyndee-Jane narrates as the fairy godmother (and occasional queen) while Gavin plays Bertha, one of Cindererella’s evil step sisters. But not so much evil, as just desperate and needy
Lyndee-Jane was superb at making both adults and kids laugh, and had many great one-liners. It’s nice to see they revise the play a bit almost daily, because they even got the All Blacks loss that morning into the dialogue. I also loved her “i-wand” which would sometimes need charging to work!
As usual, a fair number of political jokes, and King John, was King John Key and Mayor Celia and her bike got a few mentions also. The fun thing with pantos is they have jokes for the adults, and fun for the kids.
Panto regular John Wraight plays the elderly eccentric father, and also doubles as the King. Jon Pheloung plays Grace, the other step-sister.
A crowd favourite were the odd couple of Dagma (Emma Kinane) and Swedish Schwen (Paul Jenden). They performed all sorts of odd jobs, and had their own love story. Their costumes, like all of them, were wonderfully well done (by Jenden himself).
Every show needs a villain and Sean Allan performed the role admirably. He was booed by the kids everytime he appeared. Also his costume of tight tight leather pants can’t pass without comment. P Girl commented (not sure if it was admiration or revulsion!) that they left nothing to the imagination! They could almost need to be classified by the Censor’s Office!
Richard Dey played Price James and was suitably dashing.
Cinderella was played by Chelsea Bognuda. She has an incredibly polished singing voice, and her vocal pieces were some of the highlights of the show.
It was a great fun show for adults and kids. The kids get to yell and cheer and boo and even go on stage for a bit. The adults get left alone in the main, but one or two unlucky patrons do get targeted for extra fun.
Circa has a very stable panto team now. Roger Hall writes them, Susan Wilson directs them, Michael Nicholas Williams does the music, and many actors return each year. A very successful winning formula.
The play lasted two hours, with a 15 minute interval. It runs until 23 December and is a good Christmas treat for the family.
John Smythe at Theatreview also reviews it.