Reviewed by Linda Curtain
What better way to start Christmas week than a visit to the pantomime! The production of the most classic of all tales – the rags to riches Cinderella – at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth, is guaranteed to get you feeling ready for Christmas.
On arriving at the theatre last evening, the atmosphere was amazing with people of all ages ready to enjoy traditional, seasonal entertainment. Located on Royal Parade – which is festooned with twinkling Christmas lights and decorated trees – the Theatre Royal looked very festive with colourful projections of the Cinderella logo on the outside of the building. Even the huge ‘Messenger’ statue which stands near the entrance was wearing a Christmas hat!
Once again, the welcoming front-of-house staff were on hand to ensure that everyone knew where to go and to answer any queries. It was very busy in the foyer and bar areas where people were enjoying pre-show snacks and drinks.
Cinderella is certainly one of the classic pantomimes and loved by all, especially so by all the young girls dressed as Cinders in the audience. This Plymouth production certainly had all the elements for a successful show. The cleverly written script included numerous local references and a good amount of subtle adult humour! Brian Conley as Buttons was brilliant. Such a talented performer with incredible comic timing and a good singing voice. It was great to see him back in Plymouth once again. The two ugly sisters – Tess and Claudia – played by Ben Stock and Neal Wright, were very up to date and worked well together. Jenny Gayner was a great Fairy Godmother casting the necessary magic spells to ensure a happy ending. Ed Wade was a very suave Dandini and Will Richardson was great in the role of Prince Charming with amazing vocals. Sarah Vaughan was wonderful in the role of Cinderella with charm, sensitivity and great acting ability.
The first half ended with an incredible transformation scene, with tap dancing pumpkins and flying carriage and horses! Totally amazing! During the interval we had ample time to purchase drinks and ice creams and the staff coped well to serve such large numbers. A pre – ordering drinks service is available to reduce the queues, and this seemed to work well.
The whole evening was brilliant with lots of laughter, glittery scenery and impressive pyrotechnics. With a strong ensemble of dancers delivering well-choreographed up-to-date routines and an amazing troupe of well-trained local children, their dynamics and energy shone through from the opening scene to the grand finale. Unfortunately, in the first half the music seem a bit loud and the singers were struggling to project the vocals at times but this seemed to have been rectified by the second act.
I was a bit unsure about relevance of the Plymouth’s Got Talent scene, but this did add to the comedy content.
Another fantastic, lavish pantomime at the Theatre Royal Plymouth, with just the right mix of comedy, glitz and audience participation. You will be certain to have a fun-filled evening and leave the theatre with a festive buzz!
Cinderella is at the Theatre Royal Plymouth until 18th January 2020, so book your tickets for a magical, Christmas treat for your family.
A sparkling ***** rated show.
Tickets cost from £13 to £39 (booking fees may apply).
Cinderella is at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth from20 December 2019 to 18 January 2020, for more information or to book tickets visit www.theatreroyal.com or call the box office on 01752 267222.
Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, PL1 2TR | 01752 267222