REVIEW: DUNS AND DISTRICT AMATEUR OPERATIC SOCIETY ‘CINDERELLA’
THIS year Duns audiences have lent their ear to ‘The Sound of Music’, taken a walk along the ‘Flare Path’ and perhaps most memorably made a date with the ‘Calendar Girls’. ‘Cinderella’ was a great way to bring the curtain down on 2012 in style.
As the cast pointed out when saying their goodbyes after the finale, it’s not been all plain sailing in pantoland this year, largely down to the fact that leading lady Amy Clark was involved in a serious car accident in early November.
But she has clearly made a marvellous recovery as there was no holding back when it came to her making a fine impression on the Volunteer Hall patrons.
From her graceful movement around the stage and confident delivery of dialogue to a singing voice showcased in a principal role for the first time, Amy was extremely worthy of princess status, even though her character had to wait for her taste of the high life.
Every downtrodden damsel in distress needs a friend to keep their spirits up – enter Buttons played by Matthew Taylor, who has really come of age this year, impressing in both ‘The Sound of Music’ and ‘Flare Path’, and although Buttons presented a completely different challenge it was one he rose to with gusto. Playful interaction with the audience (check), unrequited love (check) and snazzy dance moves (check) – watch your back Chris Brown! – Matthew was the perfect joker in the pack.
That’s not so say he got all the laughs; as Cinderella’s ugly sisters Samantha and Natalie, Alex Wilson and Euan McIver raised more than the odd chuckle. The duo’s unique selling point was the generous helping of local references they served up with their dialogue. Not many could escape a mention, with Duns Rugby Club, Berwickshire Housing, Putton Mill and even Oscar winner Tilda Swinton name-checked.
Traditionally the ugly sisters are the villains of the piece but they were made to look like the queens of friendliness by Rick Mondeau as Baroness Constapatia.
With a sharp tongue to match her outfits, Rick made Constapatia a real force to be reckoned with, particularly when Samantha and Natalie were also thrown into the mix, their take on ‘When You’re Good To Mama’ from ‘Chicago’ being a particular highlight.
Speaking of vocal treats, the woman responsible for the maj-ority of them was Lynn Gray who went from a Calendar Girl to Prince Charming with ease. Powerballads were most definitely her forte, making her duet with Amy on ‘When You Believe’ and solo number ‘Miss You Like Crazy’ an audible pleasure.
‘Flare Path’ actress Hannah Hay was once again impressive as the prince’s right-hand man Dandini, with their duet ‘Haven’t Met You Yet’ a real audience favourite.
No panto would be complete without magic, and on hand to whisk Cinders out of the doldrums was Fairy Godmother Cath Nicol with all the warmth of a cosy evening in front of the fire.
She was ably assisted by some mini-Darcey Bussells who lit up the room with their dancing – another shining example of Sarah Aitken’s fine efforts as resident choreographer.
A key ingredient to any pantomime is enthusiasm and that is something that this ensemble of all ages had in abundance.
Group numbers ‘You Can’t Stop The Beat’, ‘Moves Like Jagger’ and ‘The Prince Is Having A Ball’ exuded energy, and producer Euan McIver and his team can take great pride in the cast’s performance.
CAST: Cinderella- Amy Clark, Buttons- Matthew Taylor, Baroness Constapatia- Rick Mondeau, The Baron- DC, Natalie- Euan McIver, Samantha- Alex Wilson, Prince Charming- Lynn Gray, Dandini- Hannah Hay, Fairy Godmother- Cath Nicol.
Adult Chorus: Sophie Anderson, Emily Drewery, Rachel Gray, Scarlett Hardy, Emma Hay, Rebekah Herbert, John Hope, Keiron Lyall, Megan Muir, April Lea Taylor.
Junior Chorus: Eilidh Archibald, Finna Hardy, Maddy Lerpiniere, Katie Liddell, Cheyenne Lothian, Arron Lyall, Chloe Scott, Sophie Scott, Kirsten Blair Simpson, Rihannon Smith, Emily Wilson, Sophie Wood.