Ross Petty’s Cinderella Story – From Gags to Riches
Reid Janisse is the writer of Cinderella Gags to Riches. This year’s “Petty Panto,” as it is affectionately known as, is being performed at the Elgin Winter Theatre in Toronto from late November, 2014 to January 4, 2015. Janisse sat down with Martyr before the show and he told us “the 19th pantomime, presented by Ross Petty and directed by Tracey Flye is as much fun for the cast and crew, as it is for the crowd and a clear destination for all ages this Winter.” This being his third year apart of the production, and second as the writer, he was ecstatic with the level of success so far.
The energy in the Elgin Winter Theatre was electric with the buzz of the imminent premiere as children in droves led by parents-a-plenty were in a hustle to take their seats. Without delay the curtain lifted and the show took us all on a journey.
Danielle Wade as Cinderella breaks your heart, adding a touch of reality to an otherwise satirically tongue-in-cheek family-oriented show. Wade hits all of her high-notes, even when things seemed down. Though this story isn’t really just about her, this would be especially true if you asked her evil step-mother, Revolta Bulldoza – played by Petty himself, the stage stealing, crowd mongering, joy to the world she is. His dynamic improv for young and old was a highlight, keeping the crowd on their toes every moment he was onstage.
Bryn McAuley (Nastine) and Cleopatra Williams (Shakiki) brought the mean back as the evil step sisters of our Cinderella – offering up believable chemistry and real life ‘mean girl’ attitudes.
Her wand at the ready, the magic on stage was apparent with Dan Chameroys’ role as Plumbum, his charisma and her character smashed together and squeezed into the “lady-like thing” that made every person in the theatre laugh until it hurt.
Jeff Lillico (Max Charming) delivers a new dynamic take on an old role, giving a fresh feel to an old fairy tale. Charming’s agent – Dan Deeni, played by Janisse himself gave nothing short of a solid performance, alongside Eddie Glen (Buttons) with a constant and clean line of under-handed humour.
In the end the Gags to Riches take on Cinderella is nothing short of great family entertainment, with raw and wholesome humour tying together a diverse cast.
Utilizing stellar sets and ‘scapes that allow audience members to make the leap from the stage to some-where in every-ones’ imagination. There is little about the Ross Petty’s production that will leave a bad taste in your mouth. Unless of course, you count the third shameless advertisement that takes a lovable children’s character and has them snap a shot of a cheque for an instant deposit (we won’t name the bank that paid for the advert.)
The transportation to reality was all too quick for the adult viewer, few finding the humour in mobile providers. As the laughs had thinned, in the near silence I heard a parent ask another, “Is this a commercial?”
This coupled with a lack any of Cinderella’s music and a sorely missed bibbity bobbity boring paraphrase that only parents caught, make up the most serious faults in the performance. With a few missed lines graciously picked up, and a single wardrobe malfunction and even with the ads, the production as a whole is a winner and should be a definite destination for this Winter’s holiday breaks.