Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
Nothing says Christmas more than a pantomime and thousands of families fill theatres at this time of year, looking for a fun night out. If you are looking for a fabulous festive treat for your family this year, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the hilarious performance of Cinderella at the Hawth Theatre, Crawley, with its great parking and easy access to the M23. We arrived 30 minutes before our 7pm performance and we were not surprised to see to see a very busy car park, even though the new Covid rules meant everyone had to wear masks whilst inside the building. As soon as we entered the lobby, we could see it was also going to be a packed performance, but we weren’t worried as almost every seat in the auditorium has an excellent view. Cinderella was held in the main theatre and there was hardly a spare seat left as we took our places ready for the start of the show.
Produced by Paul Hendy and Emily Wood, the performance tells the traditional story of Cinderella and Price Charming, where a chance meeting in the forest, meant love at first sight for the pair. Going their separate ways and the Prince not even knowing her name, he sets off to invite every girl in the Kingdom to a party to find her. Her step sister’s however are jealous of Cinderella and tear up her invitation, leaving her in tears. Now we just need a sprinkle of fairy dust to make sure Cinderella does go to the ball and has a happy ever after, expertly played by Gogglebox star Scarlett Moffat, the Fairy looked beautiful in her many glamourous outfits.
Prince Charming’s valet, Dandini is played by CBeebies TV presenter Nigel Clarke, as a newcomer to panto he brought a freshness and energy to the show and was extremely engaging. Another CBeebies performer, Richard Franks, returns for his 5th year at the Hawth as Cinderella’s best friend Buttons, playing the part brilliantly with plenty of humorous one liners and banter with the ugly sisters. Lucy- Jane Quinlan plays the beautiful yet demure Cinderella, who has a lovely singing voice, captivating the audience whilst singing about her love Prince Charming, and very charming he was too. Played by Matthew Lawrence, he also had a great singing voice and suited the part to a tee.
The stars of the show however were the two ugly sisters, pantomime dames Aldianna and Lidleena, played by Michael J Batchelor & George Akid, they were both huge, towering over the other performers making the scenes even more hilarious. Fantastically funny, I was actually crying with laughter at one point, they stole every scene with their, at times adult, humour, topical jokes and hilarious costumes. Micheal amazingly designs and makes all his own costumes, and there were a lot of them, I have never seen so many changes in one performance.
Throughout the show, the main characters are joined by a group of six dancers also acting as villagers, all in an array of stunning costumes. In the love scene there are also two very special aerial performers, Duo Nava, performing jaw dropping displays, stunning, but, please do not try this at home, children.
We had a fantastic family evening’s entertainment watching Cinderella at the Hawth. Whilst you could see cheaper shows elsewhere, this was a big budget performance with amazing scenery, stunning costumes, guest appearances and even fireworks. With at least two shows per day until the 2nd of January it’s the one to watch this festive season.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Tickets cost from £22.50 Adults £19.50 child.
Cinderella is at The Hawth, Crawley from 10th December to the 2nd January
For more information or to book tickets visit https://www.parkwoodtheatres.co.uk/The-Hawth or call the box office on 01293 553636
Address of theatre The Hawth, Hawth Avenue, Crawley,RH10 6YZ