It is a truth universally acknowledged that a handsome prince in a pantomime must be in want of a wife.
But it seems not in the case of Prince Charming, heir to the throne of France. Everyone is keen to put eligible princesses in his way … he just doesn’t seem to be interested in them. Perhaps he is too fixated on the memory of a beautiful girl he once saw walking in the rue des escargots …
Back in the rue des escargots itself, another – or possibly the same – beautiful girl is having a worse time than the meanest skivvy at Downton Abbey. Her tyrannical stepmother and her ugly sisters make her do all the dirty work and won’t let her have any decent clothes. Then, when the chance of an evening out arrives in the form of invitations to the royal ball, her stepmother grounds her and it seems that any chance of happiness for her – or for the prince, for that matter – is about to evaporate.
And so it would, if it weren’t for the intervention of …
But why are we giving the plot away?
Why don’t we tell you instead that this is a traditional pantomime in the old Bath Drama style? That means there is a familiar story for the children to follow, there is slapstick, there are simple jokes, there are subtle jokes, there are songs and dancing, sweets are distributed, there are three actual princesses, there is magic and wonderment, there is even technical wizardry as Cinderella’s three-dimensional and roadworthy carriage is constructed from materials present on the stage.
On a more solemn note, this year’s production is dedicated to the memory of Dick Phillips, who died in February 2012. Dick was best known in Bath as an amateur astronomer and star of the Herschel Society. But he was also a regular in Bath Drama pantos. He spoke the first line in the first ever Bath Drama panto in 1993 and then appeared in every subsequent Stephen Curtis panto through to 2006, usually playing the piano. His final appearance was in 2007. He is greatly missed.
Cinderella by Stephen Curtis will be presented by Bath Drama at the Rondo Theatre Larkhall from 15 to 19th January, evenings at 7.30, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2.30. Tickets are £10 and £8 (children and concessions) from the Bath Festival Box Office 01225 463362.
Auditions for Shakespeare Live’s Macbeth will be held on Sunday 26th January at The Royal Oak, High Street, Corsham, from 10am – 4pm. The show week starts July 7th at Lackham House, Lacock, and rehearsals are also at Lackham from mid April on Sundays. Shakespeare Live are a long-established company producing quality outdoor Shakespeare to large audiences each summer, as well as appearing at The Dell in Stratford upon Avon for the last two summers. Last summer’s Dell show, ‘A Royal Murder’, based on ‘Macbeth’, will be reprised at Marshfield on Saturday 25th January.