It was Cinderella but not as we knew it….the Ugly Sisters pampered themselves at Bradwell’s Beautilicious Bodies and Dandini imagined playing for Sheffield Wednesday.
Neat twists like this made an updated version of the world’s favourite pantomime very much Bradwell’s own show and the villagers loved it.
This year the show went ahead without a senior chorus for the first time in 19 years - so children stepped into the breach and shone. With swords drawn and heads held high, they marched in time to the Prince Charming tune like a well-drilled army then later cut loose to dance around the room with garlands around their necks.
At the other end of the age spectrum, great-gran Betty Bradwell stepped out of retirement at the age of 74 to wave her magic wand as the Fairy Godmother and gave a word-perfect, lengthy recitation to launch the show.
And what a show it was. Great characterisations, great costumes and great artwork reflected the efforts by director Marilyn Harrison and the backstage team to ensure a great deal of fun for spectators.
Ian Jarvis and Phil Granby were a riot as the Ugly Sisters Trinny and Susannah, walking adverts for what not to wear. Their costumes were as over-the-top as the performances and their make-up was a work of art.
Stand-out scene was the beauty parlour in which Trinny was encased in cling film, Susannah had her feet set in Plaster of Paris and their faces were caked in cream. Terrific cameos from Julie Mackenzie as the pink-haired beautician Miss Fitt and John Horstead as the slightly camp salon boss added to the humour.
Panto veteran Linda Wain ramped up the comedy factor in her role as Queen Prudence and Andrew Judge caused much amusement as King Cornelius whose command of the English language was found wanting.
Never mind about poor Cinders having to fight her Ugly Sisters for a ticket to the ball, poor Karen Joseph in the title role was fighting a cold and cough. Prince Charming dashed to the rescue, in the shape of Charlotte Humphrey who carried their signature duet Endless Love at Thursday’s performance.
Ken McKenzie as loveable Buttons made himself popular by throwing packets of chocolate Buttons to the children while Janet Maskery as Dandini got a cheer from the football fans in the crowd with a namecheck for Sheffield Wednesday.
Doreen Wood as the nasty stepmother Baroness Hardup played her role well and was a good foil for Andy Bowes’ characterisation of her gentle put-upon husband.
Everyone had a ball - even those male victims in the audience who were hauled up on stage and subjected to Trinny and Susannah’s makeover magic.
* The Centenary Players are on the lookout for recruits. Anyone interested should contact 07885 241 556.