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Cinderella: The Pantomime (Susan Elkin reviews)

Cinderella: The Pantomime
Written by James Tully & James Ellis, based on an original version by Nick George. Produced by Paul Holman Associates and Worthing Theatres
society/company: Pavilion Theate
performance date: 06 Dec 2019
venue: Pavilion Theatre, Marine Parade, Worthing, West Sussex BN11 3PX

⭐⭐⭐

Dandini is usually a bit peripheral in pantomime versions of Cinderella. But if you have a dancer of the calibre of lithe Ian Waite (eight years as a Strictly Come Dancing pro) then it makes sense to focus on him as director Michael Howcroft does here. Every movement the willowy Waite makes is compelling watching. He is definitely the star of this show.

Also strong are Nicole Faraday as a cackling wicked stepmother, a larger than life baddie in scarlet velvet and Mark Jones as a Buttons with the right combination of cheeky-chappie stage presence and warm pathos.

Katie Pritchard as the Fairy Godmother and Mark Read as Prince Charming are both exceptionally fine singers and their sung numbers are high spots. Naomi Wilkinson’s Cinderella manages to push a little way past the weak put-upon stereotype and assert herself occasionally although my favourites in the role have, over the years, taken this angle much further.

Oliver Broad and Jake Snowdon as the ugly sisters feel a bit underused and understated although they’re effective when they dance together with incongruous nimbleness and they look terrific in their finale black and white (costume design by Eve Wilkinson).

An imaginative breadth of live music underpins this show. It ranges from ballet with elegant numbers choreographed by Danielle Drayton to modern pop numbers with a sprinkling of our old friend “Trad”. A three-piece band (MD Simon Goldring) does well in the pit and the woodwind work (Kevin Parker) is a real stand out.

The show is, however, let down by its lacklustre script. It isn’t funny enough. Written by James Tully and James Ellis, based on an original version by Nick George it limps along with too many tired old jokes and a lot of would-be comedy which too often falls flat.

First published by Sardines: http://www.sardinesmagazine.co.uk/reviews/review.php?REVIEW-Pavilion%20Theatre%20(professional)-Cinderella:%20The%20Pantomime&reviewsID=3812
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Susan Elkin
Susan Elkin Susan Elkin is an education journalist, author and former secondary teacher of English. She was Education and Training Editor at The Stage from 2005 - 2016
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