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KATS - The Slipper and the Rose

28th to 30th August 2003.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

KATS chase the fairy tale

Kennet Amateur Theatrical Society (KATS): The Slipper and the Rose, at Kennet School, from Thursday, August 28 to Saturday, August 30

The KATS chose the stage adaptation of the 1976 film The Slipper and the Rose for their latest production, retelling the old favourite Cinderella story, though in strictly non-pantomime style.

It was an impressive production, with a large cast of numerous principals and chorus, which was well-rehearsed and very good to look at.
Director John Hicks devised a smooth-running and slick production that hardly paused for a scene change, which was a refreshing change. The characterisations of the familiar and some not-so-familiar characters were colourful and the stagecraft was good.

In the role of Cinderella, Rachel Manser was perfectly cast with a good singing voice and a great feeling of sincerity. Prince Edward (Jon Lovell) and John (Andy Pocock) turned in good solid performances and Mike Brook was a delight as the King and was well partnered by Val Williams as The Queen.

Mandy Cole proved to be a particularly nasty Stepmother, while Clare Clarke (Isobella) and Claire Bowden (Palatine) - the not so ugly sisters - brought a good comedy presence to their roles.

Good comedy was also provided by John Hicks as the camp Duke of Montague and Pam Delaney (with George the dog) was charming as the forgetful Fairy Godmother.

Ably completing the court principals were Steve Lovell (Lord Chamberlain) and Pam Knowlden (Dowager Queen) and a well-drilled chorus under
choreographer Carrie Marsh provided good back up.

The five-piece musical ensemble under the direction of Elizabeth Collins was immaculate and provided a sensitive accompaniment, the prudent use of radio mikes ensuring a good balance between music and voices.

Costumes were very attractive and colourful, if a bit of a mishmash of periods, and the lighting, while well cued, could have added more atmosphere (the white scrim was begging for some projection or effects).

If I have a small criticism, it would be that the whole production lacked a little of the magic intrinsic to the story, however another creditable and hugely enjoyable production from KATS.