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Panto review: Cinderella at The Churchill Theatre, Bromley
IF the reaction of the bundle of kids sat next to me in the audience is any indication of how good this version of Cinderella is, then The Churchill is on to a winner.
The little ones were off their seats, jumping around, hollering at the stage, singing and dancing along non-stop from when the curtain came up to when it fell at the end.
Unashamedly targeted at the children, the show is full of sparkle, big sing-a-longs and a liberal dose of audience participation.
In Anna Williamson and Matt Lapinskas, the show has two handsome leads that the audience really gets behind and roots for. They can both dance and more than hold a tune too – the high point being their sweet take on the Ed Sheeran/Taylor Swift duet Everything Has Changed.
The seven-year-old (I’m guessing) girls in our row went all doe-eyed with admiration when Cinderella first appeared, dancing in a village scene, and their gasps of ‘she’s beautiful’ momentarily rose above the music.
Dragged-up Dames David Ball and Bryron Mondahl make a wonderfully silly double act as Cinders’ evil Ugly Sisters, with bags of energy, gags and a fantastic array of dazzling costumes.
From their arrival in the village, the gruesome twosome firmly established themselves as the villains the crowd loved to hate with some deliciously spiteful one-liners and bating of the crowd, including a gentle dowsing with water pistols.
On the other hand, my sympathies laid with poor Buttons – made loveable by Balamory’s Andrew Agnew. Perhaps he did too good a job, though, because I couldn’t help feeling for him.
Without wanting to give away too much, his outlook at the end is a little depressing.
The last place he ought to go to work at the end is as a servant for the woman he loves but doesn’t love him back. Couldn’t he have been set up with someone, the poor guy?
Fairy Godmother Jessica Martin has a great voice and some nifty impressions, so it was a shame that she seemed underutilised and had to deliver some of the show’s corniest lines.
Everything about the elaborate scenery, costumes and band was fresh, bright and the model of professionalism.
Choreographer Dean Street created some great routines which were performed with aplomb by an ensemble cast of dancers, including the cute little ‘uns from D&B Dance School.
The traditional tale was given a great twist with some modern pop tunes, like What Did the Fox Say and One Direction’s Best Song Ever, which kept the youngsters next to me dancing and smiling right ‘til the end.
Cinderella is playing at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley High Street from November 29 to January 5 and tickets cost from £15.
For more information, call 0844 871 7620 or visit atgtickets.com/bromley
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