Saturday, 3 January 2009


Hull University Drama Society
December 2008

An early start from the Cinderella cast at only thirteen minutes late, the colourful entrance hall and new venue had already offered a glimpse of good things. It was an ambitious project from The Drama Society, and the audience (mainly students, but a good sprinkling of children) waited with bated breath.
Unfortunately for the cast the audience was not a particularly enthusiastic one, which always flattens the pantomime atmosphere slightly. One man entirely undeterred by this was Tom Perry as ‘Buttons the Butler’. His natural talent for ad-lib allowed him to cope seamlessly with everything from rowdy friends in the audience, to the most miserable heckler ever, and even to the set actually falling down on him (‘I’m the Butler, not the bloody joiner!’). He was well supported by the gloriously camp ugly sisters, played by Michael Peacock and Jack Smith, who were a classic comedic duo, and they together with charismatic Tristan Ambrose (Prince Charming) and quirky Kit Hargreaves (Dandini) helped comprise one glittering half of a rather mixed cast.
To another extreme, ‘Cinderella’ encompassed a dodgy pig, a dodgy hole in the set which pretended to be a fireplace, and a dodgy witch who was only allocated one dimension of forced and scathing evil. The chorus, though enthusiastic, were underused, and Emily Bray’s beautiful and haunting solo song was sadly accompanied by dodgy choreographed poncing. The gratuitous crotch flashing from several characters was bizarre (if a little amusing) and it was slightly odd that the cast couldn’t afford two copies of your favourite free union magazine for their ‘in joke’.
The set, although quite obviously recycled from ‘A Clockwork Orange’, fulfilled the basic pantomime requirements, right up to the tin-foil-chic ‘door bell’. Costumes were colourful and well suited to Panto, though it continues to shame Drama Soc as a whole that there is always an anomaly or two in each cast whose costume insists, rather blatantly, on not fitting its host.
Perhaps the key is that pantomime is only as good as it is bad, and Cinderella was certainly an entertaining evening. The show seemed to be a hit with children, who noticed nothing unusual in the anti-climactic ending, and record audience members prompt one to hope the Drama Soc have recouped a decent revenue. Cinderella made a pleasant night out, which left audiences with the comfortable feeling of having been entertained by close friends having a laugh, and enjoying themselves.

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