It isn’t very often I get to see shows close to home and so I love that my first panto of 2012 was on my own doorstep in Barking.
The Broadway Barking Theatre isn’t much to look at from the outside but when you eventually make it into the theatre (emerging from the carnage that is the box office) it is actually very nice. The building was renovated in 2004 and so has a very new feel to it, with steel structures and well pitched seats (the Theatre holds 350), it benefits from good leg room and spaciousness!
This is a new, specially written version of Cinderella with new script and songs. It would have been nice if there were some songs people knew but I suppose the one about a yodeling goldfish was easy enough to follow!
Barbara Jaeson plays Rubella, the wicked stepmother, with an endearingly wicked Janet Street Porter look about her.
I was impressed by 18-year-old Amy Green (who plays Cinderella). This is her first professional production but with her sweet look and voice she may do well in this business. It’s a shame that The Wizard of Oz isn’t still on as she would make a perfect Dorothy!
I loved the local feel of the panto. Andy Gillies (pictured right) plays ugly sister Lascivia hilariously. She looks like a market trader who has wandered in from outside the Theatre and had a dress and green wig put on as she is thrown on stage (think Mo Harris from Eastenders). It’s so awful, it works. That’s the thing with panto, there are usually only two results. Either it’s awful or it’s so awful it actually becomes quite good.
Adding even more to the local feel of the show, at one point Buttons (Dean Kilford) is told to kill the mice with a frying pan. He asks the audience ‘should I boys and girls?’ to which someone in the audience replied ‘yeah… him ’em’. Only in Barking!
Sally Fisher (pictured right) plays fairy god mother Marsha well. With her broken wand (and song ‘It’s Hard To Be A Fairy When Your Wand Is Slightly Bent’) and more glitter than you can find in a stationery shop, she flitted around the stage and really got the audience involved.
The singers on stage were at times drowned by the two piece band, making it hard to hear what was being sung.
Credit must be given to Cinderella’s transformation from her simple rags into her ball gown. Even though I knew it was coming, I blinked and missed the clever trick which left the audience gasping and the magic change of clothes!
If you live locally, Cinderella at Barking’s Broadway Theatre certainly isn’t a waste of money and well worth watching. If you don’t live locally then you may find the cheap bar prices more that make up for the money you would spend getting there!
Why not go along a see it?
For more information and to book tickets click here