Cinderella, Burdock Valley Players, Upper Clatford.

The Burdock Valley Players are a really well organised and talented drama group.

Their Christmas pantomime provided further evidence of this.

Karen Lindley directed the company and produced a show that was lively, polished and provided some great moments.

Right from the moment the curtain opened it was plain that we were going to be in for a treat. The stage was a riot of colour. The costumes and the scenery all combining to give exactly the right fantasy-land feel to the show.

Ruth Gillott opened the show as Fairy Godmother.

Her gentle manner introduced the show and helped to breakdown the barrier between the audience and cast to pave the way for the audience participation to come.

This pantomime is dependent on having a number of double acts who must have the right rapport.

Peter Hurcomb and Millie Hollick were the Baron and Baroness Hardup.

Peter successfully playing the downtrodden and submissive husband as Millie bossed him around.

The moment at the end of the show when the roles are reversed was very well done.

Jess Finlay and Loren Williams were Prince Charming and Dandini.

Loren adopting a cockney accent to differentiate between her and the posh royal prince.

Both sang well and clearly were enjoying themselves as they swapped roles.

Loren’s facial responses to being compromised by the Ugly Sisters were a joy.

Which brings us neatly to Kevin Hession and Lee Poore as Grizelda and Mona, the Ugly Sisters.

They really injected tremendous energy into the show.

Vocally and physically very strong and completely outrageous in their reactions to everything that happened.

They soon had the audience in the palm of their hands as the villains we love to hate.

Finally we come to Buttons and Cinderella. Richard Moffitt and Chloe Black was excellent throughout. Chloe is obviously a very talented girl.

Her singing was excellent. She drove every scene she was in with great energy and charm.

Richard as Buttons enjoyed some great moments through the show.

He controlled the audience responses well and clearly had them on his side so that the pathos of the scene when he confesses his feelings for Cinderella brought real sympathy from the audience.

There was a large and well-drilled chorus group who made the most of their opportunities to sing and dance.

The show was further enhanced by the presence of a five-piece band led by, musical director, Anna Dowsett.

Live music always adds such energy to a performance and my only criticism is that, if anything, they were under-used.

Some musical sound effects were pre-recorded and it always sounds odd when live music is mixed with recorded music.

I hope the success of this band will give the group confidence to make greater use of them in the future.

The whole production was polished and well drilled.

Stage management was carried out efficiently and unobtrusively so that the show never lost pace.

Altogether a production they can be pleased with.

John Baxter