Reviewed by Catherine Brown
The hilarious family panto ‘Cinderella’ is entertaining crowds at Lichfield Garrick Theatre throughout the Christmas period. An energetic show, with lots of traditional elements of a seasonal pantomime, there is something for all ages in this riotous production.
The show begins with the fairy godmother (CBeebies Rebecca Keatley) being given the challenge to get Cinderella and Prince Charming (Dominic Griffin) together. Director Sam Rabone plays the endearing friend of Cinderella, Buttons, while the ugly sisters are the amusing James Mitchell and James Akid. When Prince Charming fancies a bit of anonymity he chooses to swap roles with Dandini (Herbie Adams) leading to an entertaining elocution lesson. This role swap causes confusion when Cinderella isn’t sure who she has caught her eye at the winter fair.
Just when Cinderella has given up on meeting the mysterious man again, the fairy godmother comes along to help Cinderella make it to the ball. At this point in the show the front stalls are the perfect seats to appreciate a magical carriage flying through the snow. Will Cinderella escape the clutches of her ugly sisters? Will Buttons find true love? The twists and turns make for an edge of your seat performance.
Highlights of the night included a cleverly orchestrated cameo from Paul O’Grady as the Fairy Superior, a segment including unusual versions of Tess and Claudia from Strictly, and a quip from one of the youngest stars of the show, Mildred, about how Cinderella doesn’t need a man to define her. The acting on stage is interspersed with lots of audience interaction, including the ugly sisters deciding on the most handsome man in the room, two unsuspecting people being chosen to dance the conga and a very dramatic trying on of Cinderella’s glass slipper.
Throughout the evening, the talented cast demonstrated excellent musical and dance ability. Familiar tunes, which got the audience moving and singing along included an alternative version of ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ and there was a clever sketch using board games for a play on words. Vocals were especially strong from Beccy Lane, playing Cinderella, especially during the song ‘One night only’.
The biggest cheers and giggles of the night were for Buttons (Sam Rabone) however high praise should also go to the ugly sisters who had an impressive range of costumes with comedy timing played to perfection. The jokes were sometimes at the expense of people living in the local area plus a number of audience members who were brought up on stage.
The Lichfield Garrick is a modern theatre opened in 2003; it is located close to the bus station and with plenty of parking nearby. The staff are always warm and welcoming. The Garrick has a variety of pleasant locations to start the evening – the Green Room café and bar is a handy place for a pre-show supper, glass of wine or warming hot drink, while the piano room also stocks a selection of drinks and snacks.
Writer Paul Hendy and Producer Emily Wood have created a fabulous show which hits all the right buttons – humour for all ages, a strong cast and songs seamlessly linked into the storyline. ‘Cinderella’ would be a great show to entertain the family during the Christmas period.
Tickets cost from £16.50 to £32 (booking fees may apply).
Cinderella is at the Lichfield Garrick from 28 November 2019 to 5 January 2020, for more information or to book tickets visit www.lichfieldgarrick.com or call the box office on 01543 412121.
Lichfield Garrick Theatre, Castle Dyke, Lichfield, WS13 6HR | 01543 412121