FamilyFestive 15/16North East & YorkshirePantomimeReview

Cinderella – Civic Theatre, Darlington

Producer: Michael Harrison

Director: Andrew Ryan

Reviewer: Lindsay Sykes

There’s nothing quite like a good pantomime to get you in the festive mood (oh yes there is!) and with a great big dollop of comedy, a smattering of tunes and a sprinkling of fairy dust you’ve got all the ingredients for a successful show.

Ashleigh and Pudsey lead the show, and though Ashleigh can’t quite belt out the tunes as a leading lady should – or as well as her Fairy Godmother co-star Niki Evans, rather unsurprisingly given her X Factor experience – her perfected dance routines with Pudsey more than makes up for any lack of vocal power. Pudsey didn’t let himself down once, performing the adorable, but an undoubtedly clever act that won Britain’s Got Talent with his trainer and dance partner Ashleigh.

The Ugly Sisters Mel (Phil Corbitt) and Sue (Danny Potts) were wonderfully over the top, in their garish costumes and outlandish make-up. Alastair Hill was Charming and funny in the fight scene during Everything I Do.

The star of the show is undoubtedly Matt Edwards who plays the lovable but dopey Buttons. With his squeaky voice, he has the audience in the palm of his hands from the moment he steps on stage and has the audience in stitches with his silly and simple performance. He worked well with Brendan Sheerin’s Baron Hardup, and the 12 Days of Christmas routine with the ugly sisters was ridiculously funny.

The first half covers most of the key traditional elements and introduces poor downtrodden Cinders, the cruel, spectacularly attired Ugly Sisters, the handsome prince, the nice but dim Buttons – and The Fairy God Mother. In the second act, we are treated to Dooby Duck and friends and his spectacular marionette cabaret.

It’s a simple tale of good versus evil and this with its abundance of visual gags and slapstick makes it a winner, whether you are three or 93. And a truly spectacular flying horse makes this a very magical pantomime indeed.

Like all good pantos, Cinderella has a happy ending with redemption added for good measure. Along with its easy going inclusion, this production has all the ingredients needed for a great time out with family and friends of all ages.

Runs until 10 January 2015 | Image: Contributed

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