English playwright Adrian Barradell has taken the much-loved classic tale of Cinders' journey from "rags to riches", given it a fresh, new approach and added, of all things, two bankers, so maybe the story should now go "riches to rags".

Anyway, what the Napier Frivolity Minstrels have produced is a funny pantomime. Directed by Julie Smith, this popular story moves at a swift pace and I am sure Smith has taken the opportunity to add her own imaginative ideas to an already witty and upbeat script.

From the time the Fairy Godmother, well played by Kasey Smith, arrives on the stage the action starts and we are introduced to all our most-loved characters, along with a few new ones - including Major Domo, played by Mackensie Smith, and a couple of scheming money merchants played by Vincent Jones and Lola Jones. While displaying a talent for fiscal interruption, their singing voices were clear and well projected.

Prince Charming and Cinderella, played by Adam Gregory and Katie Fellows respectively, looked good, sang well and projected their voices with clarity into the theatre.


A good pantomime always needs a character such as Buttons and Helena Mills soon became an audience favourite, as she kept the story flowing with expressive movement and, most importantly, a lovely smile which will always tell an audience "I am having a great time up here performing for you".

Standing out in this production were the two ugly sisters, played by Mandy Smith and Steve Driver, who bounced off each other and gave a performance the Topp Twins would have been proud of. From the moment they arrive trouble follows and be warned: if you are a male sitting in the theatre they are after you!

Anton Hosken gave a sound performance as Cinderella's father but it was Cathy Hosken as his wife who worked tirelessly to anchor the show and her entry on stage was always something to look forward to.

A large, hard-working cast including sprites, mice, ghosts, horses and villagers may have produced difficulties on stage but choreographer Smith had them moving seamlessly and their singing was a credit to choral mistress Mandy Smith.

The set, along with sound and lighting, was to a high standard.

The Napier Frivs always do pantomimes to a high standard and much credit must be given to them for involving so many young performers, all looking like they are having the time of their lives on stage but, more importantly, what we the audience get is a fantastic night of fun and laughter that you cannot beat these school holidays.

* Book at Onekawa Books & Gifts.