Writers: Jonathan Kiley, Alan McHugh and Bobby Davro
Director /Choreographer: Nick Winston
Reviewer: Sue Dixon
Bobby Davro returns to Northampton by popular demand, following a very successful panto season last year, and it is clear to see why this man of many talents was asked back for this year’s production of Cinderella.
The Derngate is a bit of a barn of a theatre and it takes a capable veteran like Davro to establish the excellent rapport with the audience early on. His brilliant comic timing and relentless old, corny jokes are delivered to the audience like rapid gunfire. People were rolling in the aisles with laughter, unable to catch a breath between each groaningly predictable, but extremely funny, one-liners.
Cinderella is one of the most well-known of the pantomime stories and an audience expecting the romantic outcomes of ‘prince getting his girl’ won’t be disappointed. The set and costumes are all traditional and sequined aplenty, in keeping with the fairy story expectations of any member of the audience, young or old. Danielle York as Cinderella delivers an innocent stereotype that hits just the right sweet spot.
There were plenty of gasps and sighs at the firework flashes and star floating Fairy Godmother, played by Denise Welch. Welch plays her character with her tongue firmly in her cheek, with asides to Loose Women and other off stage references. There are, however, some moments when she looks a bit under dramatic for a character with so much magical power.
Throughout though, there is a good balance between bawdy innuendo and straight story-telling, with a sprinkling of traditional musical hall comedy in between. And nothing ever descends into anything too coarse or twee: a difficult thing to achieve that balance and provide something for all members of the audience.The ugly sisters, played by Andy Brady and Darren Southworth are deliciously over the top and histrionic, reeling in the required boos and hisses in just the right quantities and filling their outrageous costumes with the right amount of indignity.
The weakest elements are the musical numbers; not the voices of the cast which are all strong, but the choice of pieces which often seem incongruous and superfluous to the story.
That said, a particular highlight are Davro’s impressions, especially his vocal ones including Sinatra and Shirley Bassey.
The whole cast look like they are having a ball, real and metaphorical, which is infectious and the feel good factor that comes from the whole experience makes for a great night out.