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YOU SHALL GO TO THE BALL CINDERS!

Miss Morag Reviews: Cinderella at the Portobello Town Hall



Our Town Hall may not have had a professional pantomime for over 40 years, but now it is back and it has not failed to impress.


After the outstanding production of ‘Oliver' in October, Stage Door Entertainment brought another great production to the newly re-opened Portobello Town Hall, with a top-notch professional cast, talented local dancers, and amazing set design and lighting.


This panto is traditional but uses catchy and popular melodies that have the audience clapping and singing along.  Young children could not help but stand on their seats, raise the rafters and scream at the stage  “It's behind you!", while lots of parents were grinning widely. Even the most serious adults loosened up and joined in!


Cinderella was written and directed by Lewis C. Baird, who, thanks to an abundance of humour and the many references to local places, brought out the best in all the characters and made them feel like they were part of our community.


Amy Campbell as Cinders was delightful. Her fabulous voice was like a crystal chandelier, so pure, clear and expressive, truly a perfect foil to Martin Mitchell's  Prince Charming. His youthful charm and his extraordinary voice blended perfectly with Campbell's, convincing us they really are in love. The Prince was well supported by his friend Dandini played by Ollie Hiemann, who managed to pull in the laughs with his funny moves and comedic timing.


Every Cinderella needs her Buttons!  Laurie Scott fulfilled that role beautifully and made us want to hug him and laugh at every occasion. His antics were hilarious, especially when he found every excuse to snuggle into Fairy Maggie's voluptuous bosom.



One of the biggest characters, who filled the stage with his huge personality was Andrew Gardiner as Fairy Maggie. He was an instant success with the audience and everything a Panto Dame should be. From the moment she flounced onto the stage, resplendent in pink and red sequins, she commanded the stage. A fabulous entertainer.


Nicola Alexander as Baroness Davina Hardup was not the scariest villain I’ve seen, her face was almost as beautiful as her voice, and I would have liked to have seen her more uglified, with a ridiculous headdress to add height. She did, however, bring the venom in her strong voice and played her part with great presence. She had no trouble getting boos.




The pairing that made me laugh the most was without a doubt Harrison MacNeill and his real-life brother Leo MacNeill as Wonky and Stonky, aka The Ugly Sisters. And they were ugly! From the moment they stepped onstage like two Lang streaks o’ bacon, towering above everyone. Before they even opened their mouths, the audience was in hysterics. Their banter was slick and quick. Sometimes you hadn’t finished laughing when the next innuendo came cascading out. They were the ultimate double act.




This is definitely a pantomime you don't want to miss. Tremendously good value and in the newly re-opened Portobello Town Hall, which lends itself perfectly as a venue for the traditional pantomime. The raked seating ensures everyone can see the stage, and the acoustics are second to none.


I must mention Mischa Zielinska for the spectacular set design and Kiegan Hawthorn for the amazing lighting. Well done to Lesley O’Brien and Five Star Theatre for the costumes, although I did feel the young dancers deserved at least one change of costume.  I would have preferred villager costumes, instead of wood nymphs that didn’t match the era.


Murray Armstrong sound design Tommie Travers Musical Director Aidan O’Brien Amy Campbell  Choreography.


CINDERELLA  at  Portobello Town Hall, runs until Saturday 23rd December 




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What a fabulous use of Portobello Town Hall - good old fashioned family entertainment. Adults and children alike were joining in with the fun and laughter. So great to see Portobello Town Hall returned to its former glory and being enjoyed so much. Well done!

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