Malvern Theatres – until 7 January 2018
As pantomimes go, Cinderella is up there with the most renowned and the magic of the fairy tale has been brought to life superbly at Malvern Theatres.
With the effervescent Alison Hammond at the helm as a thoroughly modern Fairy Godmother (there aren’t may Fairies who sing Get Ur Freak On!) and Gemma Naylor giving a brilliantly rounded performance as Cinders – Malvern have another excellent pantomime on their hands, that’s for sure.
This production has a traditional script with enough current affairs to give a fresh take and as every pantomime should (in my humble opinion) there are jokes that work on every level. Kids and adults alike are provided for! The set is lavish and provides the perfect backdrop for the action. There is little use of special effects but they’re not necessary. The Shetland ponies used to pull the carriage at the end of act one are adorable and so well behaved, stars of the show in their own right.
Mark James is on hand to provide comedy aplenty as Buttons, he immediately had the audience on side and we were all ‘behind him’ when it came to shouting out when it looked as though his present to Cinders (the usual box at the side of the stage trick) was in peril. The Ugly Sisters (David Ball and Paul Lawrence-Thomas) earned themselves a good heckling, picked a boyfriend to share out of the audience. They were a formidable duo, playing off one another’s banter brilliantly. What was particularly notable was the comedic elements explored in the role of the Prince, played by Ben Harlow. The Prince can be such a sickly sweet character in some versions, to the point where I lose interest – but I was impressed with Harlow’s interpretation.
The choreography was stunningly engaging and the mixture of musical numbers was also notable. Catchy tunes to sing along to with my particular favourite being ‘Let’s Get Loud’.
There were a few minor mistakes which were highlighted but with it being pantomime, I’m sure there’ll be more of those along the way – intentional and non-intentional!
One thing’s for certain – Cinderella in Malvern is worth a watch, oh yes it is!