Slapton Amateur Productions gives us its rendition of a fairytale classic

Tuesday 27th November 2018 12:34 pm
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Ben Leach playing the 'most beautiful' Cinders and Prince

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David Murphy fills us in on the happenings of the most recent SAP production and its take on the glass slipper fairytale.

This year’s offering from Slapton Amateur Productions took place 20 years on from the first show in the current continuous series of SAP which commenced with “Cinderella!”  

Times have changed quite a lot since 1998 – the cast that year had no fewer than 24 children in it, nearly all of primary school age. In 2018 children in Slapton were in slightly less plentiful supply, although no less talented.

Also in short supply were members of that endangered amdram (amateur dramatics) species – men! This meant a fair amount of gender-bending – but isn’t that what pantos are all about?

In order to celebrate 20 years of shows SAP opted to repeat the Cinderella theme – but with a twist or two! This version showed the current company of the (fictional of course!) South Hams Operatic and Drama Society – the SHODDIES – preparing for their annual production, with all its attendant trials and tribulations.

We were privileged to see behind the scenes as rehearsals progressed and the motley cast - including Ben Leach as a most beautiful Cinderella and Fen Field and Margaret Cudd as the ugliest of sisters - rappled with learning their lines and attempted something approaching stage craft. Was it all right on the night? Yes it was! Oh no it wasn’t! Oh yes it was!

It was indeed, if the response from the 160 or so members of the two audiences can be relied on, as they enjoyed this “play within a play” version of the old pantomime favourite.

This included a visiting drama coach (David Murphy), a theatre cat who was also the “furry godmother” (Elaine Hitch) and theatre mouse (Phoebe Barton), several “mouse tailors” (Ben, Helen, Thomas and Solomon and their “boss” Biba (Julie Hinder)), Jester (Dan Mercer), Baron Newley-Skint (Zia Soothill-Ward), Prince Chow Mein (Mandy Mitchelmore) and his right hand – and left hand – men (Julie Gough and Mabel Budd), and the wicked step-mother (Jane Ashby).

Other characters were the Wardrobe Mistress (Sylvia Grant), Set Designer Fiona (Amalie Cheshire), Cook (Anna Barton), Gloria the Prompt (Gill Hall-Smith) and the highly tuneful Herald (Colin Staines). Rupert Hall-Smith played the daunting (and towering!) Dowager Duchess.

The show was directed by Sebastian Lange and once again the production made a substantial contribution to Children in Need and local charities.

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