“Cinders, the Adult Panto, latest production from the Guildford Fringe Theatre Company, opened last week at the Star Inn on Quarry Street. Writer Chris Towndrow (yes, that’s Chris Towndrow from London Corporate Media!) took the good old heartwarming tale of luck, love and sibling rivalry and doused it liberally in booze and sex.
Sex-starved Ugly Sisters with questionable facial hair, a drunk Fairy Godmother, Buttons and his racehorse (what?!) and delightfully shallow Prince Charming all revolve around a wonderful Cinderella who somehow combines lust, patience and a cleaning OCD.
The script is spot on, sending up not only the original characters but pantomime itself; Chris Towndrow has been careful to include all the clichés and some deliberately bad topical jokes. A little bit of theft seems to have taken place too but I’m sure TV’s comedy writers all know that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! There’s also lots of audience participation – you cannot help but be swept along in the tongue-in-cheek panto spirit!
But all this silliness did not for one second mar the cast’s talent. The wonderful singing voice of Helen Hart (Cinders) was used to great effect while Anthony Fagan (Buttons) had the audience (if not the pantomime horse!) eating out of his hand. And no one will forget the comic abilities of Alex Foott and Fraser Warriner (the Ugly Sisters): great slapstick, great delivery, great timing. Director and Musical Director Emma Trow was onstage for the whole panto, playing all the varied score herself and taking part in the action when the need arose.
Tickets are selling so well that an extra two performances have now been scheduled: 5pm and 8pm on Saturday 21 December. This is a silly, smutty, stupid and stupendous night out!”
“As a pair of shameless chloroform employing dames, a filthy minded Cinderella and an intoxicated fairy godmother welcomed the audience of Guildford’s first adult pantomime, Guildford Fringe Theatre Company waited with bated breath…
The first night of the Chris Towndrow written Cinders – the adult panto was a hit. With a full audience of giggling grown ups, the cast did themselves proud with energetic performances glazed with traditional panto comedy and adult innuendo.
After a successful first year in business, this covetous comedic production, certainly not for all the family, is Guildford Fringe Theatre Company’s first Christmas production. Swap the traditional fairytale love story for one of lust and debauchery, sprinkle it with intoxicating fairy dust then balance it out with a traditional panto sing along song or two and you’ll find yourself roughly at the centre of this production.
Bursting onto the stage the eight strong cast greeted the audience with pitch perfect harmonies and theatrical choreography. As you would expect from any traditional pantomime, all the characters are present in this risqué take on the fairy tale of Cinderella. The earnest friend and his struggle with unrequited love, Prince Charming who wins fair lady’s heart, Cinderella herself, some gender-crossed personalities and a horse…of course. Alex Foott and Fraser Warriner played the two ugly stepsisters and dually carried the time-honoured part of the dame with shameless hilarity.
The not-so-subtle references to content of an adult nature had the crowd’s faces creasing, safe in the knowledge that no awkward, ‘what’s funny mum’ questions would be asked. Seemingly unhindered by the small space The Back Room of The Star provides, the cast maintained professionalism throughout. And with a voice that could reach to the far curvatures of the Royal Albert Hall, Cinders actress Helen Hart was the star of the show. With props hidden under chairs, an audience member forced into the ‘glass’ slipper and of course at least one ‘he’s behind you’ moment, the audience participation element that personifies traditional panto was amiably received. From someone who tends to avoid pantomimes at all costs I say well done to Guildford Fringe. I’ll be coming again.”
Not bad reviews for my first foray onto the professional stage.
Cinders has also seen more than one performance in amateur theatre, by and for adults and children alike – with rewrites of course!