Milton Keynes Theatre
11 December 2012
This production of Cinderella has to be the campest panto I have ever seen. And that’s saying something!
Apart from the lashings of glitz, sparkle and glamour, the main reason is the presence of ultra camp master Louie Spence topping the bill as Dandini. For in this version, Prince Charming’s sidekick is obviously far more interested in Buttons than Cinders and normal panto inuendo moves onto a whole new, delicious level!
This begs the obvious question, how do you explain this to a youngster – or do you really need to?
I think if they are at an age where you don’t normally have to explain inuendo because it goes over their heads, then this scenario will have the same effect.
If you do have to explain, then again it’s no different from the usual double entendres. And if you want your child to grow up accepting all creeds, then why not start early?
This show as a whole is lavish, a lot of fun with strong performances throughout. It combines traditional audience participation with a high standard of dance and vocals, to music ranging from Let it Be to Gangnam Style.
Spence can only be described as a force of nature. As well as a larger than life personality he never misses a chance for an elaborate dance routine, hyperactive gyration or to get his body into amazing positions which, as someone only a couple of years older than him, made my eyes water!
Anna Williamson was an endearing Cinderella, Andrew Derbyshire a handsome Prince Charming and Deniece Pearson, the lead singer in the 1980s pop group Five Star, provided top notch vocals in the Fairy Godmother role.
The Ugly sisters Peaches and Pixie, played by Paul Burnham and John Barr respectively, were both witty and wicked, just as these roles demand, and their expected lavish and over the top costumes did not disappoint.
In my book, the most impressive performance was by Kev Orkian as Buttons who was genuinely funny and established an excellent rapport with the audience. He was also impressive as a clever comedy pianist – a skill which came out of the blue.
The result of all this is a pantomime that caters for all ages, albeit a bit loud at times, delivers a lot of fun, laughter and sparkle worthy of a row of pink tents!
Just under 2.5 hours including a 20 minute interval.
It’s billed as a family show and I would say this is about right – depending on your child! I didn’t take V as it was an evening performance and way past her bedtime. I would be happy for her to see it, albeit maybe with ear defenders if our seats were near the front. My only worry would be the length for an active 2.5 year old. The first half is over an hour and I know she gets restless around 55 minutes, but if your child happily sits for longer, they will be fine!
Reasonably priced novelties compared to other shows. I bought V a spakly tiara and butterfly wings for £4 each. The best bargain was a pair of disco gloves with fingers that light up – a snip at £4.50. I bought some for hubby – he loved them!