1st December 2019

A panto that starts with the song “Nottingham is the greatest place of all” has got to be good, hasn’t it?  Well, I suppose if, like me, you agree, I’d say that this year’s offering from Nottingham’s Theatre Royal is going to be a cracker. 

2019 sees the return of Cinderella, which is definitely one of my favourite fairy stories and usually a good choice for a bit of festive fun.

Fresh from last year’s success as Best Ugly Sisters, Les Dennis and Connor McIntyre have one again teamed up to play the evil siblings Michaela and Phelina, whose job it is to plague poor Cinders and wear the most unflattering outfits in Pantoland – which they do with lots of gusto and aplomb.

Joining the sisters are Gareth Gates, who is very dashing as a bearded Prince Charming and the lovely Hannah Grace Lawson as Cinderella, along with Kimberley Blake as the Fairy Godmother with the voice of an angel and Jack McNeill making a welcome return to the Nottingham stage as Dandini.

In a pantomime, it’s always important to have someone who can pull the show together and this year it is undoubtedly Sooty and his sidekick Richard Cadell, who literally had us rolling in the aisles – especially when the state-of-the-art gadgets went wrong.  Richard (and Sooty's) experience shone through and the audience absolutely loved their appearances, gags and ad-libbing.  No sign of Soo but Sweep popped up from time to time and even treated us to a bit of opera.

As always, there were the usual rather risqué and topical jokes (don’t worry though – the kids won’t get them) and lots of faaabulous songs, as the story raced from start to conclusion.  Highlights included the wonderfully funny “If I were not at Hardwick Hall” and the nothing short of hilarious wall scene set to the song “Everything I do I do it for you”, which showcased the perfect comic timing of Gareth, Hannah and Richard.

Everyone in the talented ensemble expertly played their part, making this year’s panto an absolutely delight to watch. I can only imagine that it is going to get funnier as the weeks go by and the cast settle in.

With gobsmacking magic tricks galore, a flying carriage scene that will leave you open-mouthed, water pistols (and don’t think you’re safe up in the cheap seats!), the usual fantastic scenery and dancing and lots of laugh-out-loud scenes, this year’s panto has got it all going on. 

You can see Cinderella at Nottingham's Theatre Royal until 5th January 2020.  Visit www.trch.co.uk for tickets.

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