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Saturday, July 12, 2008 The Kingston Whig-Standard

Stepsisters are shoo-ins to be Cinderella?s stars

Sophie Szczesniak, Signy Lynch sparkle as shrieking siblings


By Greg Burliuk

The story of Cinderella is so old that a version exists that dates back to the first century BC, in which an eagle takes the rose-gilded sandal of a serving girl to the pharaoh, who makes all the women in his kingdom try it on. Of course, the pharaoh falls in love with the serving girl when he finds her.

The version we are most familiar with (glass slippers and a fairy godmother) was written by Charles Perrault in 1697.

Charles Robertson?s take on the fairy tale is a fairly conventional one. It keeps the most important elements of the Perrault tale, drops ones that would be difficult to stage (like turning a pumpkin into a coach) and adds a few jokes here and there. Throw in some tuneful music by Michael K. Myers, and you?ve got a pleasant way to spend an hour or so with your children on a weekday.



The cast for Bottle Tree Productions? Cinderella is largely young and of limited experience, but they manage to pull it off.

The actors will pull it off even better as their confidence grows with each performance, which will hopefully then bring more fun to the play.

The script is written so that, in several cases, the audience is asked to help the characters by telling them where obvious things are. To make that work, the actors have to ask the audience enthusiastically and not timidly; there was more of the latter than the former.

There also needs to be actors whom you can?t take your eyes off of, whenever they?re on stage; in this kind of play, it should probably be someone who has the kind of role that allows them to go over the top.

Right now, there are two actors doing a pretty good job in that position. Signy Lynch and Sophie Szczesniak play the wicked stepsisters with relish: their blood-curdling screams whenever they hear Prince Charming?s name mentioned are enough to shake the dust off the rafters in the Wellington Street Theatre.

There are candidates on the horizon as well for MWP (most watchable player). In the dual role of Doc Doc, the inept royal physician, and Ed, the playboy rat coachman, Katharine Noyes has a twinkle in her eye; she just has to make her stage business more over the top. And, as the fairy godmother, Sarah Connelly has a million-watt smile; now she has to make her other role as Prince Charming?s mother more unique because right now, there?s little difference between the two.

As for the two main characters, Megan Ready-Walters needs to bring more energy to the role of Cinderella. And, as Prince Charming, who starts out as a self-proclaimed nerd, Tom Sinclair needs to work more on his clumsiness, perhaps making his movements more concise rather than stumbling around the stage.

Still, with a cast that appears to be under the age of 16, director Anne Marie Mortensen has done a nice job of creating a show that young audiences will like.

CINDERELLA

Signy Lynch (pictured) and Sophie Szczesniak steal the show, playing Ethel and
Gertrude respectively, Cinderella?s two wicked stepsisters. Michael Lee/The Whig-Standard

Signy Lynch (pictured) and Sophie Szczesniak steal the show, playing Ethel and Gertrude respectively, Cinderella?s two wicked stepsisters. Michael Lea/The Whig-Standard

C A S T
Cinderella - Megan Ready-Walters
Prince Charming - Tom Sinclair
Ethel - Signy Lynch
Gertrude - Sophie Szczesniak
Stepmother - Hannah Smith
Servant - Peter Jensen [sic]

CINDERELLA
a play adapted by Charles Robertson with music and lyrics by Michael K. Myers Director - Anne Marie Mortensen
Set design - Kyle White
Stage manager - Allie Dunlop

A Bottle Tree Productions production now playing until July 25 at the Wellington Street Theatre, corner of Wellington and Johnson streets, with performances at 2 p.m. Monday to Friday. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors, students and children. For tickets or more information, call the Grand Theatre box office at 613-530-2050.

RATING: 3 out of 5 stars