Pantomine a real family act

DIANA WORTHY
Last updated 05:00 04/12/2013
Pantomine WMP

CONTRASTING ROLES: Alex Stone’s hard of hearing Baron Hardup is oblivious to what is happening for most of the panto while Buttons, played by Clare Ashworth, guides the audience through the action.

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"It really is a family affair."

That comment on Waiheke Choral Society panto Cinderella is not just about its appeal.

Clare Ashworth who plays Buttons says whole families have been involved in its preparation as well as performances - with the Farrants and Herrens fielding several family members each in the cast.

Clare is married and also has children.

They are too young to perform yet but she says they have been performing whole scenes from the panto at home.

The two boys and a girl are aged between two and six so husband Paul has almost had to become a solo dad, she says.

"The production has taken hours and hours and hours of commitment. I wouldn't have been able to take on this role without his help."

Mancunian Paul has also been a big source of information about how panto works, Clare says, as he has seen many during his upbringing in Britain.

"As a Kiwi I was not familiar with panto but in Manchester it is seen as traditional Christmas entertainment."

The production offers slapstick humour, local references, songs, dancing, audience involvement, and fun surprises for children.

And Clare says she and audiences have been loving it.

"The louder the reaction from the audience, the better. I get to encourage people to boo. It makes a big difference to how the cast respond and to their energy. We are all really looking forward to the next five shows."

Co-director and actor Andy Spence, who plays the part of ugly sister Griselda, says it is fun and offers a chance to be totally "un-PC".

DON'T MISS THE SHOW

Cinderella at Artworks Theatre Buy tickets through Dee Austring on 372 5647, through the Facebook Waiheke Community Noticeboard, or get them at Shop the Rock in Oneroa.

Cost $20 adult, $15 senior, $10 child, $40 family. Performances December 5 and 6 at 7pm, December 7 at 2pm and 7pm and December 8 at 2pm.

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