13 December 2018

Cinderella - Tyne Theatre

So pantomime season is upon us! I think this is the first of three I'm seeing, kicking off with Cinderella at the Tyne Theatre and Opera House in Newcastle. This year's show boasts an impressive cast - X Factor Finalist Lola Saunders as Cinderella, singing legend Maureen Nolan as the Fairy Godmother, Collabro's Jamie Lambert as Prince Charming and The Last Ship's Charlie Richmond as Buttons.

Straight away we meet the Fairy Godmother (Maureen Nolan) who appears on stage with a flash of sparkle, looking every inch the perfect fairy. I was immediately struck by how good the dancers were, especially the young children who looked like they were really enjoying themselves in the process. I love it when pantos aren't totally polished and things go wrong (to be expected when it's only the second performance). Baron Hardup (CBBC's Connor Byrne) had a bit of a trouser malfunction to begin with which made me laugh (sorry Connor). The Ugly Sisters in this production are particularly nasty and narcissistic (good job Gavin Ashbarry and Jay Worthy), they burst onto the stage and quickly launch into a medley of hits to get across how wonderful and beautiful they are (including My Humps by the Black Eyed Peas - the less said the better). 

The Fairy Godmother comes to Cinderella's rescue
The musical numbers are heartfelt and well performed (particularly A Million Dreams by Cinderella and Prince Charming - Lola Saunders and Jamie Lambert have great voices). One thing I always look out for in Cinderella is the Ugly Sisters' outfit changes and this production definitely didn't disappoint in the kitsch stakes, some of those dresses you can't ever unsee (well done costume department)! I really liked a scene where Buttons (a show-stealing, cheeky Charlie Richmond) feels sorry for Cinderella not being able to go to the ball, and uses his imagination to make her believe that she's going (it's amazing what you can do with some old bits of furniture). The first half ends magically with some special animal guests, which I almost didn't see because I was too busy marvelling at the fake snow falling all around me.

The Ugly Sisters, Prince Charming and Dandini
When the curtain comes back up, we're at the Royal Ball, and treated to a Madonna/Abba medley of hits and an impressive set. Our Prince and Cinderella get reacquainted after their first meeting in the woods and give great performances of Cyndi Lauper's 'Time After Time' and 'Whitney's One Moment In Time.' (Lola has the pipes to belt out the big diva hits). I was hoping that the Nolan's classic 'I'm In The Mood For Dancing' would be included, and I wasn't disappointed. I particularly enjoyed Dandini (the likeable Lewis Denny) messing up his lines before Buttons, Dandini and Baron Hardup launched into the classic Twelve Days Of Christmas routine, using a range of household items which occasionally get thrown off the stage (if you're near the front you might want to wear a raincoat). 

A Geordie version of Twelve Days of Christmas with Buttons, Dandidi and Baron Hardup
Before the grand finale, you're treated to the Ugly Sisters in the bath, a particularly strange scene with a yeti (cue cries of "It's behind you!") and the classic slipper situation, leading to more laughter as the Sisters desperately cling on to their dream of bagging the Prince. Luckily for him, we all know there's a happy ending. The lady sitting next to me had never been to a panto before (and I think she was in her 50s) and judging by the amount she laughed (myself included), this version of Cinderella was definitely a hit with both childlike adults and kids alike. 

The Happy Couple
Get tickets for Cinderella here (until Sunday 30th December). Running times (Act 1 - 1hr 1 mins, Interval - 20 minutes, Act 2 - I hr 10 mins - 2 hrs 40 mins total.

Photos by Paul Booth (Pixx Media)

*I received tickets in exchange for a review

1 comment:

  1. It was a truly magical experience. Loved every moment of it. My friend and I had travelled from North Devon to support Jamie Lambert in this(we saw in him in panto last year). We were totally mesmerized by the whole production. Jamie was stunning as were the whole cast.