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March 8 2020, Cinderella Trophy Reviews

It was evident that the late Alistair Sims had a rough ride keeping her school of St Trinian’s under control. So lets just spare a thought for poor old Dame Dimwit as she tries to keep order at her Chardstock A Ca Da Me!

This season’s choice, by Chardstock Amateur Dramatic Society, was Little Jack Horner. I love nursery rhyme pantomimes as they have a refreshing tendency to deviate from the norm. Looking through your programme it was evident you have had a fair share of these productions over the years.

Written by Paul Reakes and directed by John Williamson and Nicola Boxell this was a colourful and entertaining pantomime although a little more ‘fine tuning’ in some areas would have enhanced the overall production.

All sets were pleasing and appropriately painted. Well done ladies! In particular I was drawn to the Gypsy Camp with its Romany caravan and camp fire. The audience members sitting behind me were enthralled by this scene too!

Casting can present challenges but it was clear, Paul and Nicola, you achieved this most admirably. You certainly have a talented troupe in Chardstock including one or two eye catching juniors as well. Here are just a few who caught my eye ….

Chelsea White’s Jack Horner was a big role to play but at just fifteen years of age you played your part with assurance and stage presence. Nice work Chelsea.

At just twelve years of age Daisy Broome’s Patience gave an extremely mature performance and your diction lucid and impeccable. Your dresses were beautiful and complimented your character. Here’s an up and coming actor to look out for in future productions. Excellent.

I loved the antics of Ady Goff and Charlotte Heavisides’ King and Queen. You were perfectly paired and I was captivated by you both. A fine entertaining comedy duo well played.

Vince Convoy’s Dame Dimwit looked every inch the character with some magnificent costume changes. Gosh, I wouldn’t fancy having ten of the best from you unless I was well padded! You portrayed your role in true ‘Damely’ fashion and are to be congratulated. However, I would have avoided falsetto throughout your performance. A ‘lilt to the voice’ every so often would have still created your feminine image.

Now if you were searching for traditional, well-timed, knock about comedy then you need to look no further than Chardstock Community Hall. Mike Spellar and Sarah Williamson’s Bertie and Gertie played their roles with distinction. Here was a duo that had clearly worked hard on their characters and knew the art of comic timing. The ‘Sweet gag’ was most certainly ‘the comical moment’ of the season for me. So very revolting yet hilarious. I promise I will visit you in Yeovil District after the production Bertie!! There were occasions when diction needed slowing down a tad as a few punch lines went unheard. I also felt the audience number was very laboured and could have been reigned in swiftly by such an experienced pair. Nonetheless, another excellent performance.

All schoolchildren, parents and townsfolk grace the stage well but where were those smiles children?!

Make-up was expertly applied on Dame Dimwit, Graball and Vasaleno but felt many other characters looked pale under the lighting. Deeper blusher would have enhanced you all.

I am unsure which costumes were society-made or hired from Axminster but everyone wore theirs with ease and this added a colourful appeal to the pantomime.

There was a nice selection of musical numbers although one or two a little dated. With such a small chorus it was inevitable that some songs were not quite so rousing. I may have been tempted to have started the show with ‘Baggy Trousers’ as this was a great upbeat number for any opening.

Schools out for Summer and so is panto. This was my final journey and what a great show to go out on.

Thank you CADS for your hospitality and letting me share your ‘evening classes’ with you.

Nigel Ford. Moderator.