There are fewer festive traditions that bring families together in quite the same way as the good old British pantomime. This Christmastime, the Hill House family was brought together by the inaugural Staff Panto, Cinderella. With Mr Laszkowicz starring as the lovestruck Buttons, and Miss Smith, of the English and Drama departments, as the overworked, overlooked Cinderella, the school was treated to a story of friendship that blossoms into true love. However, ‘the course of true love never did run smooth’ and when Prince Charming’s (Mr Lawrie) parents, Mrs Havard and Mr Fox, decided he needed a wife, an invitation was issued to all eligible ladies in the room; scuppering any chance of Buttons and Cinderella being together.
Of course, Mr Marsh’s Baroness Hardup had plans of her own and made sure her daughters (Mr Anderson and Mr Barnett) also had the opportunity of vying for the hand of the ‘handsome’ prince.
What, however, would a pantomime be without the fairy godmother to grant the wishes and desires of the heroes and heroines in a bid to usurp the villains? Enter Mr Keyworth. Equipped with tutu, wings and trusty golf club wand, the god-mother of fairy god-mothers bestowed Christmas wishes on us all and even gave some timely words of wisdom to a Buttons, who had lost his shine, and a Cinderella who had, until now, no chance of going to meet her ‘handsome’ prince.
Back at the palace, ball guests Mrs Troupes and Mrs Thomas, and palace steward, Mr Cattell, all attempted to win the prince’s affections before the Hardups finally seized their moment, after a sterling vocal cameo of It’s Raining Men, from Mr Hopkinson. The attentions of the prince, however, were firmly fixed on the now begowned Cinderella. Sadly, all that glistens is not gold and Prince Charming lacked much promise. Fleeing the scene, assisted by the cousin of Buttons (Mrs Smith), Cinderella returned home, alone.
A rogue glove, left behind at the ball, gave Prince Charming and his family hope that his perfect partner might be traced, only to discover that it was, in fact, the glove of the Baroness.
And so it was that the Mr Lawrie and Mr Marsh embraced; Mr Anderson and Mr Barnett wept; Mr Laszkowicz and Miss Smith were united and the rest of the cast and crew gathered under the ribbon-clad baton of Mr Keyworth’s golf club to lead the school in a hearty rendition of We Wish You a Merry Christmas.
Many thanks to Mrs Lee, Mrs Holland, Mrs Atack, Dr Boynton, Upper Sixth’s Katie Smith and Head of Drama, Mr Ross, for their help and support in directing, providing costumes, props and make-up and in writing the script. An annual tradition is born and one that has already received rave reviews from pupils, students and colleagues alike. As one GCSE pupil said, "There are certain things I will remember from being here, and this is one of them. It was really brilliant!"
Merry Christmas to you all.