Panto part of Christmas

Last updated 05:00 27/11/2013
GOOD GUYS: Cinder’s friends, the mice, contribute a big cute factor to the production. Front: Mailis Herren, 11. Middle from left: Anais Farrant, 6, and Nika Dyblenko, 6. Back: Holly Meyers, 11, Nassai Herren, 12, and Teresa Ford, 11.

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A darned good panto should be on every parent's list of things to do at Christmas and this year's offering at Artworks is up there with the best.

"It's behind you," and "Oh no, you didn't - oh, yes, I did," are part of the mix in the Waiheke Choral Society's production of Cinderella starting on Friday.

And directors Philip Symonds and Andy Spence have made sure their audience feels part of the show from the word go, with clever casting of Clare Ashworth as Buttons. The role is central to the pantomime and Clare gives it all she has, encouraging adults as well as children to become part of the action.

For adults, Bruce David-Goff's and Andy Spence's casting as the ugly sisters was always going to be a given for enjoyment.

Both are seasoned performers, in serious productions as well as panto, and here they lose no time having fun with the outrageous costumes and lively repartee.

Biggest surprises come from Andrew Watkins as the wicked stepmother and Alex Stone, playing hard-of-hearing old codger Baron Hardup.

Unrecognisable in his dress and makeup, Andrew makes a wonderfully selfish and bossy harridan while Alex manages to deliver some very corny lines with perfect timing.

Good casting too with Michaela Dodd as Cinderella and Julia Fuller as Prince Rupert.

But the special thing about the Waiheke Choral Society production is its inclusiveness. Residents of all ages and abilities are able to take part and the enthusiasm of cast members for their big musical production numbers such as That's Cinderella (to the music of That's Entertainment) and Dancing Queen cannot help but draw in the local audience as well.

It is moments like these that make living on Waiheke magic.


Waiheke Choral Society presents a traditional Christmas pantomime written by Stuart Ardern and Bob Heather, and directed and adapted by Philip Symonds and Andy Spence.


November 29 at 7pm and November 30 at 2pm and 7pm.

December 1 at 2pm. December 5 and 6 at 7pm, December 7 at 2pm and 7pm, and December 8 at 2pm.

Tickets: $20 adult, $15 senior, $10 child or $50 for a family. Special prices for matinees November 30 and December 1 $15 adult, $12 senior, $10 child, $40 family. Tickets from Waiheke Choral Society members, from Shop the Rock in Oneroa, or phone 372 3456 to book.

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