Wow factor

Forget about the X-Factor, because this was a home-grown show that 100% had the wow factor.

The youngsters from Aboyne’s Script to Screen & Stage drama group put on a delightful production of a modern musical take on the classic panto, Cinderella, produced by their tutors Joyce Ogilvie and Edna Sim, at the Victory Hall on Saturday, December 11.

Their performance was a joy from start to finish and enchanted the enthralled audience who witnessed a thoroughly professional show that left them wanting more.

The 23 youngsters who took part, aged from eight to 13, excelled themselves by displaying a maturity far above their years to create a memorable presentation.

In this new version, the heroine Cind, played by an excellent Tara Dow, has a greedy land-developer step-mother who is determined to buy up the local Kinghorn Manor to make her fortune.

Cind discovers the plan and sets out to foil her step-mum with the help of her friends and the intervention of trainee witches, pixies, a magic crystal and a leprechaun.

This mix produces a highly enjoyable romp, built on the foundations of a good old-fashioned panto with singing, dancing and moments of belly-aching high farce.

Leading the fun was a wonderful Callum Miller as the Leprechaun, who had the audience in stitches with his antics – especially when he joined them to chase the pesky pixies, played with plenty of enthusiasm by Eve Ramsay and Josie Nunn.

But he was closely followed by John Day and Dan Hart, who were regular scene stealers as Cind’s gormless step-sisters, Babs and Fran. Another first-class comic turn came from Cameron Cox and Matthew Watt, as computer geeks Cedric and Eggbert.

More comedy came from Charlotte Gordon as an unlikely witch, while Pippa Thirgood provided good support as her trainee witch daughter Harriet, who was saved from the computer geek bullies by Cind.

The feisty Cind was ably-assisted by her two best friends Lani, played by a confident Daisy Cooper, and Bea, played by Sophia Forman as they tried to find a way to save the manor.

Niamh Jaffray exuded the right air of greed and menace as the step-mother while Leila Ewen was an assured Ella – Cind’s magically produced double to help with the housework but who fell in with the computer geeks.

Another scene stealer was Zak Sole as Grandpa Kinghorn, who stomped around in a world of his own, while James Critchley took to the role of Lord Kinghorn as though he was born to it and also produced a stunning solo song, declaring his love for Cind.

The whole plot came to a head during a party at the manor, where the step-mother was forced to reveal her real plans by a truth drug put in her drink by Cind and her friends.

That allowed the entire cast to sign off with a rousing show-stopping finale, that truly brought the house down.

The only disappointment on a first-class night was that this was a one-off show by these youngsters, whose efforts deserved a wider audience. More please!