For more than 30 years now I have been heading to Nottingham Playhouse to get an annual dose of pantomime fun — and this year’s sparkling version of Cinderella certainly lives up to the high standards established over those years.
The shows at the Playhouse continue to evolve to meet the modern appetite but are always faithful to the tried and trusted themes and structure that brings the audience back in their droves every Christmas time.
A constant in that is stalwart Kenneth Alan Taylor who, as writer and director, has once more hit the perfect pitch.
The story of Cinders needs no synopsis and is a firm favourite with the panto-going crowd — and this version is packed to the rafters with magic, fun and laughter.
At the heart of much of this laughter are the Ugly Sisters, Bella and Donna — the former played by Playhouse favourite John Elkington.
Bedecked in a flurry of spectacular costumes, Bella and sibling Donna (Darren Southworth) are hilarious, especially when it comes to a touch of ad lib and interacting with the audience.
Playing the role of title character Cinderella is Kelly Agredo, who is able to play the perfect foil to the more boisterous characters but also able to take her time in the spotlight with her wonderful voice for the musical numbers.
Equally talented in the vocal department are Prince Charming (James Nicholson) and his faithful man servant Dandini (Adam Pettigrew).
Rebecca Little, who normally plays one of the ‘good guys’ is also back at the Playhouse, but this time in the guise of Dowager Duchess Devilla, who is the architect of preventing Cinderella following her dreams.
And who could write about the Playhouse pantomimes of recent years without mentioning the high-octane Tim Frater.
This year’s Buttons never fails to wow with his incredible dance moves and is always a willing helper when welcoming some of the younger members of the audience up on stage to chat with Elkington.
Among the children brought up on stage for the press night however there was one big surprise — a special invite for the Playhouse’s new artistic director Adam Penford, who did a wonderful job helping direct the audience through the words of the traditional interactive song — and even walked away with a goodie bag.
Among the other highlights of the show was a rendition of the Silento song You Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae), which eventually had the whole audience up on their feet getting involved.
A skit between Bella, Donna, Buttons and the Dowager, when their car breaks down, is also hilarious — especially when the vehicle unexpectedly clatters into the set!
Factor in the love story, happy ending and jokes about certain parts of Nottinghamshire and once again the Playhouse pantomime is a riot of festive fun not to be missed.
Cinderella continues at Nottingham Playhouse until Saturday, January 20. For ticket information, availability, pricing and bookings call 0115 9419419 or CLICK HERE to visit the website.