Pythonesque twist to Harpenden pantomime performance

A CHILDREN’S theatre group is all set to wave its magic wand and stage its fifth pantomime production in Harpenden this month.

Budding actors from the Hurst Children’s Theatre Group will be treating audiences at the Harpenden Public Halls to their version of Cinderella between January 26 and 29.

The group – which has an age range of three to 18 – are promising plenty of singing, dancing and laughs when they take to the stage.

The production sees the mean Baroness treat the Baron and his daughter, Cinderella, like personal slaves. All the Baroness wants is for one of her two children to marry Prince Charming but neither of the Ugly Sisters has a chance.

You know the rest: Fairy Godmothers, balls, glass slippers and a ‘happy ever after’ ending added to the creepy Brokers Men, cheeky Buttons, singalongs and the little ‘Chiminees’, played by the youngest class in the group.

Jonas Hurst, who set up the group in Harpenden after giving up his TV presenting career on Sky News among other shows, said: “The scripts are aimed at audiences of all ages. There’s plenty for the kids but the adults in the audience are also well catered for. The humour is akin to the likes of Blackadder and Monty Python – made all the funnier when performed by children. The talent on show is incredible. The children’s enthusiasm and energy makes for a thoroughly entertaining performance and, with every year that passes, the standard gets better and better.”

The Hurst Children’s Theatre Group was started around 65 years ago by Jonas’ grandmother, who taught Audrey Hepburn among others.

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His father, Mike Hurst, took over and ran the group in Henley-on-Thames alongside his successful music career which included him playing with the Springfields and managing and producing artists such as Cat Stevens, Shakin’ Stevens and Manfred Mann.

Jonas’ sister now runs that group and he set up the Harpenden branch five years ago with around 30 children. It has grown to almost 150 members and puts on two productions per year.

He added: “Their talent and enthusiasm is contagious. Don’t let the winter blues get you down, have something to look forward to at the end of January!”

Tickets, which are available by ringing 01582 840245, cost �8 for adults and �6 for concessions. More information can be found at