Reviewed by Zoey Caldwell
Last night I took my two children to the Royal & Derngate in Northampton to watch Cinderella. Christmas is coming and part of Christmas is pantomime isn’t it?
I was surrounded by families, and so many small children. Lot’s of girls dressed up in Princess dresses ready and eager to let the magic happen. This year the show boasts Anita Dobson as Baroness Angelique, Bernie Clifton as Baron Hardup and the real star for the children Sid Sloane of CBeebies fame as Dandini. To be honest I think that the EastEnders references are totally lost on them and Bernie walking across the stage halfway through on an ostrich must purely be for the adults in the room.
Charlotte Haines (Cinderella) is perfectly cast, she is beautiful and has such a sweet voice that captivated the children so wonderfully, the onstage chemistry between her and Prince Charming (Dan Partridge) is believable in the cheesy love story that unfolds. Dan is of course, good looking and is a thigh slapping chest pumping Prince.
You cannot have a panto without ugly sisters and my goodness, were they ugly! Claudia (David Dale) and Tess (Tommy Wallace) do not disappoint. Ugly, hideous costume changes, innuendos and laughs all around. Wallace and Dale bounce off each other flawlessly and perform each role superbly. One of the intriguing parts of the ideal of the ugly sister is the costume changes and the costume designers went to town with this show! Bravo to them! The facial expressions of both of these actors were amazing and they are gems adding laughter to the show!
While I am discussing comedy, we cannot have the Cinderella story without love-struck Buttons, played by Martyn James, and comedian, musician and general cheer master of the show. Martyn performs some magic tricks that from the reactions of the children around are just perfect for the show. As well as Buttons magic, we cannot ignore the huge part that the Fairy Godmother plays in ensuring that the Prince meets the love of his life. Jacinta White floats magically on and off stage throughout the show, spreading good cheer and bringing joy with her voice. I was surprised to hear Willy Wonka’s World of Imagination, we are huge fans of the movie and I am not so sure about the song in Cinderella.
One of my favourite parts of the night was Sid Sloane’s time on the stage with two children from the audience, he has a real presence with the children and is obviously comfortable in their presence. It was a quiet intimate part of the show where he focused fabulously on these two young girls and probably made solid life time memories for them.
Needless to say the Prince gets his Princess but not without trials and tribulations, songs and dance routines excellently performed by the whole cast. Bernie Clifton really belts a song out, reminded me of the Chelsea pensioner that won Britain’s Got Talent a bit to be honest but I had no idea that he could sing.
The pantomime was a fabulous family show right from the start and I believe that the true critics are the children. They love, love, loved it. The theatre was full of smiling, happy children and that means the entire cast, crew member, band member etc should be so proud. Christmas really feels like it has started now the panto has been done!
As always, each member of the Royal & Derngate staff were polite and friendly and the theatre was brimming with excited families but the staff were professional and unfazed. A trip to the Derngate always end up as a fun time and getting to have quality time with boys is priceless!
Cinderella is a fabulous fun time family show and deserves a 4/5 rating.
Tickets cost from £11 (booking fees may apply).
Cinderella is at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton from 6-29 December 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk or call the box office on 01604 624811.
Royal & Derngate, Guildhall Road, Northampton, NN1 1DP | 01604 624811