Local lad, and star of CBeebies popular Show Me Show Me, Chris Jarvis has adapted, directs and stars in UK Productions’ 2010 pantomime Cinderella, at the Pavilion Theatre, Bournemouth. And it is clear that he has thrown every ounce of energy, enthusiasm and his now considerable experience into making this traditional presentation a magical experience for everyone on-stage and off.
Shining as an ever-so-slightly camp Buttons, Jarvis has a winning way with the little-ones, and manages to innocently drop a few cheeky ‘Carry On’ style comments, topical jokes and spot-on impersonations for the adults without ever breaking his engagement with, or talking over, the children, as most modern day ‘comedians’ tend to do into panto. Technical gremlins, which delayed the start for almost 20 minutes on press night, gave Jarvis the ‘opportunity’ to warm up the audience in his own unique way, and being such a likeable chap, an extra few minutes in his company is most welcome, and set up the show perfectly.
The curtain rises on Amanda Barrie’s charming, and slightly dotty, fairy godmother, who welcomes us in to the familiar world of this well-known fairy tale. With great comic timing, Barrie has a lot of fun with the character, and brings much warmth and star quality to proceedings. We are soon thrown head-first into the story of Cinderella (played by the beautiful Sophia Thierens) and her father Baron Hardup (Last of the Summer Wine’s Tom Owen), whose lives are blighted by Cinderella’s vile step-sisters (played with great style and gusto by the splendid David Ball and Byron Mondahl). With the help of best friend Buttons, who is secretly in love with her, and fairy godmother, Cinderella gets a chance to meet her Prince Charming (CiTV’s dashing Tim Dixon) and go to the ball! The coach, resplendent with white ponies, provides a magical conclusion to act 1 and brings plenty of oohs and ahhs from the audience.
Local DJ David Perry as Dandini, a talented chorus, and enthusiastic young members of the Stage Door School of Dance and Drama, complete the cast.
With the traditional mix of recent pop and west end songs, outrageous costumes, audience participation, saucy humour and the full camp horror of the Ugly Sisters, this production is lifted from the realms of your average panto to a great one, by the heart that runs through it, the attention to local detail and the sheer hard work that has gone into producing it.
A real Christmas treat for all the family, and one not to be missed.