Cinderella – Milton Keynes Theatre

Writers:  Michael Harrison and Brian Conley

Director: Kathryn Rooney

Reviewer: Maggie Constable

We all know so well the traditional fairytale story that is Cinderella but for a month at Milton Keynes Theatre families from all over will be lucky enough to be part of the spectacle that is QDos Productions’ version of Cinderella, starring the renowned actor and comedian, Brian Conley, no less AND Mr Gok Wan, chef, fashionista, autobiographical author and wit!

Stop the sweeping and polishing, oh Cinders, as your world is about to change, much as it will for all the families, particularly the children, who come to join Cinderella and her pals in their special world of fun, frolics, romance and much more. It’s not “behind you”!

Gok Wan, in the role of fairy Gokmother, gets the chance to show off his fashion guru skills along with his sassy charm, charisma and panache. And some singing to boot.

Brian Conley, who has starred at Milton Keynes in both Barnum and Hairspray, both to great acclaim, gives us his special brand of humour, much appreciated on British TVs performing the main part of young(?) Buttons. Wow does he deliver; just the right amount of one-liners and jokes, a great singing voice and superb comic timing. He and Gok clearly have got working together down to a fine art, having previously been paired together in pantos – fab interactions and they are obviously enjoying themselves, which is infectious. Conley was also very good with the young girls from the audience who came up on stage at the end.

As the eponymous heroine of our pantomime, we have Lauren Hall, a very pretty Cinders with a charming voice and manner, even if she could do with a tad more personality at times. Her interactions with Prince Charming, brought to us by Matthew Goodgame, are sound but there is not much chemistry. Nevertheless, Goodgame has a powerful and melodic singing voice and some charm.

The wonderful and ever-drole Ugly Sisters, Tess and Claudia (recognise that pairing from somewhere?) are portrayed by Ben Stock and Neal Wright respectively and boy (or rather girl!) do they do so in style, in their fantastic and colourful costumes, and with effortless humour and pizazz. Dandini, portrayed tonight by Matthew  Malthouse, is an easy rôle to play and an easygoing character, which Malthouse certainly reflects. The ensemble dance and sing extremely well, playing a range of roles too.

David Lane’s orchestra is spot on and there is a good choice of popular songs in the show for all ages and predilections.

Kathryn Rooney’s direction is sharp and there is good pace throughout, despite an hour-long first act. Ian Westbrook and 3D Creations are responsible for the huge variety of sets and settings/scenery and all of these are most effective and delightfully apt.

Mike Coltman’s speciality costumes are marvellous, especially those of the Ugly Sisters. A blaze of colour at every scene.

Certainly one of the best pantomimes at Milton Keynes Theatre in recent years. Something for all the family and more. Not to be missed, especially by children.

Runs until 14 January 2018 | Image: Contributed

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  1. The whole show was hilarious! Gok and Brian are a good team and the ugly sisters were also good. I took the family and the absolutely loved it !

  2. This show is not entirely suitable for young children. The number of sexually lewd jokes (such as referring to an audience member as ‘gagging for it’) and overtly camp behaviour between Gok Wan and Brian Conley leave the audience having to explain why things were said to younger members. Funny for adults is one way to put this. Chauvinistic and crass is another. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of humour, but when the audience is full of young children, the sexually overtones have no place in the Panto.

    Sadly, I had to spend the drive home explaining what Conley meant when he said that a ‘fact’ about women from (wherever the audience member is from) is that 95% are unfaithful and the other 5% get a letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury…

    ‘Daddy, what does unfaithful mean?’

    ‘Is mummy unfaithful?’

    Thanks QDos and Conley – what a Christmas treat that was!

  3. i agree with Tony, it was inappropriate for the family panto. It felt as if we were watching the Conley show…
    We were very disappointed as we’ve been to the Xmas panto for many years but sadly this didn’t have the magic it usually does!

  4. Went to “Cinderella” matinee on New Years Eve with high expectations for a great afternoon.
    Eagerly anticipated family outing, what a disappointment.
    Lovely set, very small cast, completely overshadowed by Brian Conley and his overtly sexual comments and innuendos. What was all the crotch grabbing about? Far too much of Brian and not enough of the lovely Cinderella glitz
    The many little girls in Cinderella outfits in the audience must have been mystified.
    Where were all the fun pantomime scenes “He’s behind you?” current pop songs to sing along to and the singing contests? Even the slapstick “wall” scene was boring.

    Left the theatre feeling let down, not at all what we had looked forward to.

  5. I can see the point about sexual comments and innuendos but my kids are older so was not an issue. I was thoroughly entertained throughout, Brian and Gok were a perfect combination their characters were brilliant and so funny. The ugly sisters were great and had a usual change of outfit every scene. The whole thing had me laughing so much – one of the best pantomimes I have seen at MK.

  6. Absolutely fantastic.Brian & Gok were fabulous.The little pony was cute.but I have to say the horse was fantastic Well done.Best Christmas present ever.

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