Panto’s don’t come any more classic than Cinderella, it has everything you want in a ‘thigh-slapping’ show; a fairy godmother, a leading lady who finds her Prince Charming, a duo of dames …and this year the Opera House’s offering has an added bonus…Louie Spence!
Louie was made for panto-the star of SKY 1’s Pineapple Dance Studios plays the Prince’s aide Dandini. Louie oozes ‘camp’ and would sparkle even if he wasn’t dressed in a pink costume covered in sequins.
In the past Dandini has never been a character that has made his mark and is a role usually played by a woman (although Louie would be first to say he’s in touch with his feminine side!). It’s hard to take your eyes off Mr Spence-he steals practically every scene he is in and leaves you amazed at his energy and constant dance moves executed with an extreme excitability.
Suzanne Shaw stars as Cinderella and looks every inch the fairytale heroine with her long blonde locks and petite frame. You could see all the little girls in the audience wide-eyed, wishing they would grow up just like her. The panto gives the former Dancing on Ice Queen the chance to show off her vocal skills which we haven’t heard since her Hear’Say days. Shaw serves up renditions of Bruno Mars ‘Amazing’ and TakeThat’s ‘Never Forget’-strange choices for a female lead but she manages to pull them off.
Prince Charming (George Wood) is ‘super posh’ and gives you the impression that even off stage and out of character he is still the type of person who shops at Waitrose. Wood does the job of ‘Charming’ very nicely but I couldn’t help thinking that if he had been a contestant on X Factor Louie Walsh would have turned round to him and said ‘you remind me of a young Michael Ball’-the resemblance is uncanny!
One person who really earns his ‘panto points’ is Tam Ryan who plays Cinders best friend Buttons, (Opera House fans might remember him from last years’ Snow White as Muddles). Ryan creates a ‘Liam Gallagher-esqe’ character in Buttons which has the kids on side from the start and the Mums and Dads in stitches. Instead of the usual ‘hiya kids’ Ryan hails them with ‘hiya chucky eggs’ to which he urges them to reply a good old Salford twanged ‘sorted’…Genius.
Ugly sisters Beatrice (David Dale) and Eugenie (Drew Christie) provide more laughs with their outrageous outfits (a nod here to their Royal namesakes attire from Kate & Wills wedding day). They are also the butt of boos from the audience due to their treatment of step-sister Cinderella, although it is clear that the pair love every minute of it and have some witty one liners to chuck back at them.
Penned by panto legend Eric Potts this production of Cinderella manages to entertain kids and adults alike. Like a big hug the show makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and you leave the Theatre knowing that Christmas is just around the corner…oh no it isn’t…oh yes it is (sorry the panto bug must be catching!)
Runs till 31st December 2011
Box Office: 0844 847 2295