Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
She's behind you
Of all the things that England has given the world – Imperialism, Devonshire Teas, Cucumber sandwiches and Fish and Chips – almost certainly the one which has brought the most pleasure is the English Pantomime.
L to R: Clayton Mitchell (Gertrude), Gemma Sharpe (Cinderella) and Joe Isaia (Griselda) (Photo by D Sutherland-Bruce)
Developing from the sixteenth century Italian commedia dell'arte, the pantomime a la Anglaise has several distinct features. The 'Principal Boy' is traditionally played by a gorgeous young girl in breeches, the 'dame' is most frequently a man in drag and lots of audience participation in the form of 'He's behind you!', 'Oh, yes it is' and 'Oh, no it's not'.
Baron Hardup (William Gregg) and the Milkmaid (Melissa Scott) (Photo by D Sutherland-Bruce)
In many cases a star is drafted in to add gloss to the production, as Sir Ian McKellen playing Widow Twankey in Aladdin, he was outstandingly good, by all accounts.
Sor Ian McKellen (Widow Twankey) and Maureen Lipmann (Dim Sum) in Aladdin (Photo by Manuel Harlan/PA)
It is in this spirit that Marloo Theatre is presenting Cinderella by Stuart Ardern & Bob Heather as a full traditional English pantomime, complete with two dames (Joe Isaia and Clayton Mitchell) a gorgeous lead playing Cinders – the very lovely and talented Gemma Sharpe and mice, Buttons, Baron Hardup, Prince and King.
The Chorus in Rehearsal for Cinderella (Photo by D Sutherland-Bruce)
The Prince must marry (otherwise his stipend will be cut off) and holds a ball to choose a bride. Cinderella is banned by her ugly sisters and cruel stepmother, but her fairy godmother ensures a happy ending. All singing, all dancing and great fun for all the family.
Cinderella runs from November the 8th til December 6th. Bookings are open and made by ringing Gwyne 9255 1783. Tickets cost $22 for adults and $70 for a family group of two adults and two children.