Cinderella panto on a race against time

The classic Disney film has seen many an adaption, including  Year of a Million Dreams starring Scarlett Johansson. | Photo: Annie Leibovitz
The classic Disney film has seen many an adaption, including Year of a Million Dreams starring Scarlett Johansson. | Photo: Annie Leibovitz

Lincoln’s community radio station, Siren FM, will be showcasing an on-air pantomime with a difference this Christmas, courtesy of Alison Duncombe, the Terry O’Toole theatre administrator.

Duncombe donated her “Cinderella” script for the use of a radio pantomime while a guest on the Graham King show recently.

“I am really excited about this,” says Graham King, the presenter of the theatre radio show. “It’ll be the first time we’ve done anything like this on Siren, so it will be an interesting challenge for all involved.”

The presenters at Siren FM will have to go through an intense twelve-hour audition and recording process that will face them with similar pressures to those which professional pantomime acts must endure.

Operating to an extremely tight deadline, they will receive the scripts in the morning and immediately be trying out for roles, after which they’ll be appointed character parts and given only their lunch hour to revise and practise. “It sounds intense, and it is, but it will be fun and rewarding for all involved to experience the fast-paced movement of theatre,” adds King.

After lunch, there will be a rehearsal where directors Tim Partridge and Sharon Harrison, and executive producer Andrew David, will be involved in creating a lively audio piece that aims to take listeners to pantomime perfection through voice and sound.

“We’re really testing to see what the Siren staff are made of,” says King. “Enjoyment and delivery are what this process is all about and I think the end product will benefit massively from the tight schedule.”

The radio piece will take all the traditions of a stage performance, keeping it as close as possible to the live stage action that pantomime audiences relish.
“We’ll be adding sound effects to liven up the listening, along with the character accents and cross-gender acting that always fares well with pantomime audiences, so we shan’t be disappointing on that level.

“I must admit, a huge factor in choosing ‘Cinderella’ was down to the three dame roles [the stepmother and two ugly sisters] for our male cast members to take on, and the slapping-of-the-thigh moments for the girls to enact playing Prince Charming and Dan Deeny.”

King has performed in Duncombe-scripted plays in the past, saying that they are the “only plays where many years later I can still recall my lines, because they were written so superbly”.

The pressure will be on to ensure a high-standard performance in such a short space of time, but the Siren team seem up for a challenge, hoping that “Cinderella” will be a highly entertaining, and a great success.

“Cinderella” will be aired on Siren FM over the two-week Christmas period, following the auditioning and recording process, and promises to be an ideal substitute for those who can’t make it to the theatre this year.

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