We often wish for a fairy godmother to turn up when we are in a tight spot. Bethan Roscoe has had her own fairy godmother moment through her actual mother, Helen.
The third year student has taken on the role of director for the University of Portsmouth’s Dramatic and Musical Society’s production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella.
There was a problem with how to create a dress for the magical moment when Cinderella’s rags turn into a ball gown. When Bethan told her mum, who is an experienced wardrobe mistress for an amateur dramatics society, she knew exactly what to do.
‘Mum offered to make the transforming dress for us and we jumped at the offer,’ says Bethan. ‘She put it together in Suffolk then drove it down to have a fitting with Matilda, who is playing Cinderella. Matilda’s smile was so wide when we transformed it for the first time!’
Matilda Andrews agrees – it’s her favourite part of the show. ‘It’s every girl’s dream to be a real life princess. The energy from the rest of the cast when they saw the dress for the first time was phenomenal.’
She, like many people, watched the classic Disney film as a child and dreamed of fairy godmothers, pumpkins, ball gowns, and glass slippers. Just like Cinderella, her dream has come true by being cast in the lead role. The first year student from Sandhurst says: ‘I’m so excited. It’s my first leading role in a musical and it’s been a great experience so far. Everyone’s working so hard on the show and I can’t wait for people to see it.’
Rhys Jones, playing the role of Prince Christopher, says ‘I’ve always wanted to take part in a production like this and when I was picked as the prince, my eyes watered because I almost felt it was a mistake’.
As an astrophysics student he is one of several cast members who does not study a performance-related course. ‘Everyone in the production has been so welcoming and friendly.’
And he adds that his friendship with Matilda has been an unexpected bonus. ‘We’ve become really good friends through Cinderella and there isn’t a rehearsal where we don’t make each other laugh.’
Matilda concurs: ‘We get on really well, which helps when rehearsing some of the romantic scenes.’
Meanwhile, Bethan, who has directed youth productions such as Bugsy Malone and Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, pays a lot of attention on the supporting cast. ‘Whenever I go to the theatre, my eyes wander and I find myself transfixed on members of the ensemble’. Bethan’s passion for the ensemble is clear through her directing.
‘It’s been such an amazing experience,’ says Melissa Hackett, who plays a farmer in the ensemble. 'Bethan has been a star in trying to ensure that everyone feels included. I feel like we are one big family.’
New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth
February 28-March 2