Oldham Coliseum – until 12 January 2019
Children are the toughest critics of all theatre – fidgeting, asking ‘can we go now?’ – they’ll certainly not mince their words when they tell you that they’ve had enough. I was lucky enough to enjoy Cinderella at Oldham Coliseum with three lively and opinionated young ones. They followed the hilarious action, sang along with the catchy tunes and joined in with all of the obligatory pantomime booing, cheering and chanting. All three came out of the auditorium saying that it was the best pantomime that they had ever seen. Now, if that isn’t testament enough, please do read on.
Every year Oldham Coliseum delivers up a top-notch traditional pantomime with their tried and tested recipe of seasonal goodness. The size of the auditorium really lends itself to audience involvement – just the right size for every child (and adult) to be able to interact, which is a real bonus for younger theatre-goers. Energetic, funny and full of heart – every performer has a magical glint in their eye – Cinderella is Oldham Coliseum’s best panto yet.
Pantomime is always a huge amount of fun for any creative team and this enthusiasm and engagement really shines through, with all of the cast giving commendable performances. Springy Richard J Fletcher brings an animated and charming Buttons to the stage alongside the hugely likeable Shorelle Hepkin as Cinderella. And this year, Oldham Coliseum brings a dame double-act with Simeon Truby and Fine Time Fontayne playing the ugly sisters, Trumpy and Pumpy. Double the laughs and lots of fun with sound effects.
Sue Devaney steals the show as Cinderella’s evil stepmother, Countessa Squeezepocket – her fabulous performance is worth the ticket price alone. Some of the best and most entertaining moments felt completely spontaneous, pleasingly wacky and off-script – and this is where the live stage at Oldham truly shines. On the opening night, there was a slight problem with sound at the start but all was soon rectified and no enjoyment was spared.
Simply put – Oldham Coliseum’s Cinderella is everything that a pantomime should be. With an abundance of laugh out loud moments, Dave Bintley’s lively musical score of sing-along chart-toppers, a sterling cast of seasoned performers and a pleasing price-tag – Cinderella at Oldham Coliseum is the best traditional panto in the North.
Cinderella runs at Oldham Coliseum until 12 January 2019.
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