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Duo turn to drag to play pantomime ugly sisters

By Somerset Guardian  |  Posted: December 05, 2013

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When you look at the cast list for this year's production of Cinderella by the Frome Musical Theatre Company (formerly the Frome Amateur Operatic Society) you can't help note the names of Humphrey Barnes and Andrew Carpenter as Griselda and Gertrude, the Ugly Sisters. Between them they have more than 100 years' experience on stage, probably as much as the rest of the cast put together.

Both are very familiar faces on the Memorial Theatre stage having performed in pantomime there since the first one in 1979.

Humphrey is best known for his portrayal as dame and Andrew as baddie but in Cinderella the roles are combined in the form of the Ugly Sisters so both are ideal candidates to play the parts.

Humphrey and Andrew have performed together for more than 40 years but never in this combination and both are looking forward to doing 'something new'.

Andrew is the current chairman of the group and took over from Humphrey who held that position for 20 years until 2007 and is now Chairman of the Memorial Theatre Trustees. Both men eat, sleep and breath amateur theatre, in fact Andrew is appearing as Mr Darling/Captain Hook at the Athenaeum Theatre in Warminster from December 19 and December 22 as well so really has had a packed rehearsal schedule leading up to Christmas.

The roles of the Ugly Sisters are vital ingredients in Cinderella for not only do they provide the vehicle for the children to boo and hiss and vent their fury but also they provide much of the slapstick humour – at their expense mainly.

They are involved in the traditional kitchen scene, ghost sequence and of course the infamous 'trying on of the slipper.

The 'girls' will be performing Don't Cha made famous by the Pussycat Dolls and The Girl (Boy) Does Nothing as made famous by Alesha Dixon.

The 'girls' will be making a personal appearance at Barclays Bank in Frome between 11am and 1pm on Thursday, December 19 if you want to get up close and personal.

The show is packed full of fabulous songs, both old and new, colourful costumes and traditional family entertainment and as always the Memorial Theatre pantomime is the number one treat for the young and young at heart at Christmas time.

The show runs from December 29 to January 4 with matinee performances at 2pm on December 29, 30 and 31December and January 1 and 4. Evening performances are at 7pm on December 29 and January 3 and 4.

Tickets cost £13 for adults and £11 concessions (family tickets of no more than two adults at £40) may be purchased from the Memorial Theatre box office on 01373 462795 or by visiting www.fromememorialtheatre.org.uk.

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