Volume 9 Week 3

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette




(Posted 17/12/04)

Cinderella a magical mix of song and slapstick
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Stepsisters Asphyxia and Euthanasia as well as their mother, the Baroness Medusa von Hardup, provide the villainous element in the East End Theatre production of 'Cinderella'. Sherwin/Photo

If it's Christmas, it must be time once again for a classic English pantomime from the folks at East End Theatre.

Following up on the success of "Aladdin" (2003) and "Jack and the Beanstalk" (2004) the amateur theatre company tackles the classic children's fairy tale "Cinderella" this weekend at the Orléans Theatre, as only they can.

Part slapstick comedy and part musical, East End Theatre's "Cinderella" is 100 per cent entertaining.

Pantomime dates back to Victorian England where it was a popular diversion from the drudgery of daily life. Often described as the original variety show, true pantomime is a mix of comedy, song, audience participation, slapstick humour, puns and, of course, a villain.

"Cinderella" measures up on all fronts, especially when in the comedy department. Ron Kok and Tim Robinson are side-splitting hilarious as the ugly stepsisters Asphyxia and Euthanasia.

Kok appears in East End Theatre's traditional holiday pantomime after a one year absence. Those of you who saw "Aladdin" will remember him as the tremendously funny Widow Twankey.

Kok's drag queen performance in "Cinderella" is a touch Monty Python and a pinch Dame Edna. His presence on stage is complimented nicely by panto newcomer Robinson. The two men play off each other wonderfully and the result is non-stop laughs, especially when they join forces to sing "Sisters" and "Give Me That Old Time Rock and Roll".

Music is the key ingredient to any successful pantomime and "Cinderella" is no exception.

Prince Charming, played by Sherry Thurig, places the glass slipper on Cinderella's foot during the East End Theatre production of 'Cinderella'. Sherwin/Photo

Of note is the return of 13-year-old Sylvie Moquin who plays the lead role. Moquin was magical as Princess Melanie in "Jack and the Beanstalk" and her superb vocals and spellbinding presence on stage in "Cinderella" are further proof we'll be hearing a lot from her in the years to come.

For my money, Moquin's two duets with Sherry Thurig who plays Prince Charming, provided the musical highlights of the evening.

Other strong performances were turned in by Cameron O'Brien as Cinderella's confidante Buttons and Louise Franklin as her step.m.other, the Baroness von Hardup.

The principle cast is rounded out by Sally Osborne as the Prince's valet Dandini; Chris Story as Cinderella's father Baron von Hardup: Christine Adamson as the Fairy Godmother; Gilles Bellefeuille and David McNorgan as Ammer and Tongs.

No East End Theatre pantomime would be complete without the contribution of the childrens' chorus which performs the opening two numbers with Dandini and Cinderella and then the closing two numbers of the first Act including a spirited version of "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo" that will have you singing along.

Audience participation is not only welcomed in a pantomime it's encouraged. Booing, jeering and cheering are what make pantomimes one of the most interactive forms of theatre there around and with characters like the ugly stepsisters, is more than enough opportunity to exercise your vocal chords during East End Theatre's production of "Cinderella".

The childrens' chorus is made up of Brynn Emond, Jasmine Lee, Samantha Chan, Jessica Laframboise, Emily Ouellette, Taylor Boileau, Deandra Robinson, Emily Leahy, Dannica Tofflemire, Zoe Kok, Paige Kendell and Miranda Tofflemire.

Members of the teen chorus include Alexander Dean, Raquel Gollob, Caity Dyck, Ruthanne Rath, Michael Jacobsen and Hayden Smith. Special mention should also go to pianist Patricia Messier, director Diane Barnett and stage manager David Ferguson.

"Cinderella" continues tonight and tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. at the Orléans Theatre on Centrum Blvd. Two special matinée performances will be held on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. For ticket information call 841-0111.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)


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