The Chrysanthemum Pantomime Society has been around since the summer of 1918, when a group of amateur dramatics decided to put on a show and brighten the lives of local people during wartime. Their first production of Sleeping Beauty raised £6 profit which was donated to the Red Cross in appreciation of their efforts during the war.
Over one hundred years later, the latest members of Chrysanth’s Panto are bringing us Cinderella and brightening a dark and chilly January night once again for local residents in a venue which is the jewel of New Brighton, the Floral Pavilion Theatre.
As the play opens, we meet various members of the cast and are introduced to Cinderella (Charlie Delaney), Prince Charming (Jessica Nixon) and Dandini (Laura Jackson). All three performers give a solid performance – singing, dancing and word perfect!
Simple but effective sets and scenery illustrate the Village, Baron Hardup’s residence, the Palace and a beautiful scene for the Palace Ballroom Act when Cinders (Princess Crystal) makes her entrance in an exquisite diamond encrusted gown (a little lad in the stalls exclaimed loudly, “Oh my God!” which made everyone laugh). There were some random pyrotechnics with the capability of making you jump out of your skin and various levels of volume throughout the show to keep you awake.
All of the characters provide excellent vocal performances and well timed delivery. Alfie Ross as Buttons does a great job of pulling everything together and engaging well with the children in the audience from the very beginning. Comedic interludes are provided by Sambuca and Verruca (Jed Flowerday and Graham Leigh respectively) with great costumes and slapstick humour that the audience loved.
Other members of the cast gave very entertaining performances, good singing, great dancing and standard pantomime humour. They are obviously very experienced and it shows.
Musical direction was left in the capable hands of Norman Scott, an organist with over 50 years’ experience and percussion provided by Jonathan Rowland. However, the live music was mixed with some popular recorded numbers (mainly disco) that provided an opportunity for the pantomime dance troupe to strut their stuff and show off their moves.
There was some very good choreography and the dancers, whose ages range from the very small to accomplished teenagers, shine. Their costumes were fabulous and although they weren’t always entirely synchronised, they certainly had the cute factor.
The staff at the Floral were as helpful as ever and not at all phased by the large amount of lively youngsters and their numerous trips between the auditorium and the bathrooms. The Merseyside Search & Rescue team were also in attendance, undertaking some fundraising to help support their valuable role in assisting the local police when searching for high risk, missing vulnerable people.
The panto is on until Sunday January 12 and is a good trip out for the family.