There were definitely Disney and pantomime-esque moments, but nothing that overshadowed the fact it was a distinct and separate musical, which took the audience on a whimsical jaunt into a fairy tale world.
Reading the biographies in the programme, it became clear that many of the principle cast have trained in Performing Arts and some have/do work in the theatre industry professionally. This was clear in the performances, which across the board were excellent, but begs the question whether this truly can be called an amateur production.
Playing the lead role of Cinderella was Reanne Nash. Her singing voice was beautiful and her acting faultless. Playing opposite her as Prince Christopher was Declan Wright who gave a stellar performance. The onstage chemistry between the two was superb and their voices complimented each other in there numerous moments of duet-ting.
Solid performances were given by Sasha Monique as the sassy Fairy Godmother and Jo Whitnell as The Queen. Both had beautiful singing voices and were captivating to watch. Playing the disinterested King was Barry Jones and the extravagant Lionel was played well by Jason Weir, whose campness and flamboyance lit up the stage. Julie-Dawn Newman shone as the nasty Step Mother - a role she clearly relished.
Playing The Step Mother's daughters, Grace and Joy, were Kathy Ward and Courtney Emery, who were for me, aside from Reanne and Declan, the stars of the show. In pantomime versions, these characters are usually played by men and labelled the ugly sisters. Even the Disney version has them as caricatures. What Kathy and Courtney managed to do was keep a certain element of this, but keep them as believable characters as well - not an easy thing to do. They incorporated physical comedy, along with the comedy in the script to make the characters real and thoroughly enjoyable to watch.
Highlights for me included the songs The Sweetest Sound and In My Own Little Corner. Other highlights were The Transformation - the dress change worked exceptionally well, the scene where the company decorated the stage as lantern holders and The Search - I enjoyed the comedy used here including when a member of the crew came on as well.
A special mention has to go to the company who were used throughout both in terms of set dressing and additional characters. As mentioned I particularity enjoyed the 'lantern' scene, although they were better when playing specific characters such as the villagers and ball attendees.
I enjoyed the use of dance / movement by the company during scene changes. It was a shame backstage crew were on at the same time, as their practical scene changing was in complete contrast and distracted somewhat from the whimsical nature of the show.
Other aspects of the show I enjoyed included the magical elements - the pyrotechnics for example were unexpected and impressive and the lovely carriage and horses (which were very War Horse-esque). I have to say that I was unsure of the 'Puppets' at the start especially the tabby cat (only because it looked out of place with the white dove and mice), but I warmed to them as the show progressed, mainly due to the puppeteers acting.
A final mention has to go to The Show Choir who were secreted in the boxes, brought into boost the sound as the company was quite small. Congratulations to the sound crew who managed to blend the sound well - even sitting in line with the choir, it did not sound like a separate body of people singing.
Overall, once again LODS have put on a great show and congratulations have to go the cast, musicians, crew and creative team.
LODS next show is to be Our House.