Ugly Sisters: Byron Mondahl and David Ball gave the show energy. Pic: Freia Turland
Ugly Sisters: Byron Mondahl and David Ball gave the show energy. Pic: Freia Turland

Cinderella. Theatre Royal Bath. Age 6+.
They came, they twirled, they triumphed. The Ugly Sisters are supposed to be hissed at but by the end of Scott Ritchie’s Cinderella the audience were not sure whether to boo or cheer as the duo David Ball and Byron Mondahl took the show by its glittering balls and gave it real umf ─ and some.
The passing of the legend that was Chris Harris earlier this year potentially left a hole in Theatre Royal Bath’s annual panto. His theatrical spirit need not have worried. Harris’ long time fellow actor Jon Monie was always going to hold the show together such is his exceptional stage presence, quick wit and winning personality with children as love-sick Buttons.
But another factor made this panto a success and that was the hormonally confusing Ugly Sisters. Played as a brilliant double act by David Ball (the tall bossy one) and Byron Mondahl (the fat stupid one) the couple swept all before them with real aggression, earthy humour and lots of local references in Adam Ryan’s script.
The Bath panto is known for its dance support from the girls and boys of the Dorothy Coleborn School of Dancing. The class of ‘14 were given some complex but smile-producing routines by Lewis Butler, adding movement and a balletic texture to much of the show. The costumes of the dancers caught the eye – in particular the combination of black and cream. And the wardrobe department should be congratulated in general for outfits that matched the personalities of the characters.
Dani Harmer as Cinders seemed to play within herself and wasn’t helped by the script by being a particularly wimpish heroine. A slightly feisty and assertive Tracy Beaker-esque character would have been more appropriate and given a better role model for today’s young females.
Athletic Bobby Windebank as Dandini and old stager Richard Colson as the Baron also caught the eye in this enjoyably energetic production noted for its choreography, its pace and two very outspoken sisters.
Harry Mottram 4 Stars

The show runs from 11 December to 11 January 2015

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