No Magic Here
River City Community Players
Opening night for Cinderella drew a respectable crowd eagerly awaiting the magic of Cinderella to unfold - it didn't. While there were several outstanding and memorable performances (I'll get to these later), it mostly lacked energy, excitement, fun and most of all the whimsical magic that should be a part of any production of Cinderella. The Godmother, nicely played by Tisha Entwistle, is supposed to magically appear from outside to inside Cinderella's house. What happens is that she simply walks through a "hidden" door in the set and is all of a sudden "magically" there. Very lame, as was the set. While the set was functional and scene changes moved smoothly, it was on the level of a very good elementary school production. The conversion of the mice to carriage horses lacked any imagination and the carriage itself (consider it part of the set) was pretty sad.
The one bit of "magic" that was truly awesome, however, was when Cinderella went from her rags to her ball gown. That was a very nice moment.
However, several strong performances were turned in. Cinderella, played by Suzie Stephensen, was absolutely delightful. She has an extremely beautiful voice and very nice presence on stage. Brandon Johannes, portraying the Prince, captured the audience with his wonderfully rich and expressive voice. He and Cinderella were very well matched, vocally, on stage. While Tracy McClung, as the Stepmother, and Sarah DaMetz as Joy and Bernadette Tate (as the stepsisters) gave very entertaining performances and were very strong vocally, I was disappointed that they weren't allowed to have more fun with their characters. These are very talented ladies who could have given so much more if they had been directed and allowed to. Linda Finch and Mike Forsythe, as the Queen and King, were perfect for their roles and were very entertaining.
Costumes for the production were fitting (no pun intended) and nicely done. Everyone looked great! Kudos to Joshua Shockey for his musical direction. Vocally, this was a very good production. I was disappointed in the direction. The staging was simple and safe, overall characterizations could have been bigger and more fun, and better use of the stage could have been made.
By their reaction, the audience did enjoy the production and were very entertained. And in the end, that's what really matters.