Slick and oiled: Cinderella @NewWimbTheatre

It is panto season, and nowhere has slicker productions than the New Wimbledon Theatre. This year, with Linda Grey as the fairy godmother in Cinderella the show has appeal for little kids and bigger kids. Bigger older kids. Ones who stayed in when Dallas was on television (well back then there probably wasn't much else to do).

Cinderella now is set against the backdrop of her fathers struggling oil business and thanks her ugly stepsisters spending all his money, they are flat broke. Cue the need for a special Fairy Godmother - with a penchant for a hip flask - to come to the rescue and save the business and get Cinderella to meet her prince charming.

While there is a star-studded cast, what also makes the show a treat are the charismatic performances by Liam Doyle as Prince Charming and Amy Lennox as Cinderella. They sing, dance hold their own with all the insanity (and occasional scene chewing) around them.

Well, it is panto so a bit of scene chewing by the stars is necessary. And when they are well put together (Eric Potts is the writer) with some great set piece scenes and some terrific songs it makes for a great family night out.

Apart from the usual hoary jokes, Tim Vine as the sidekick Buttons and Matthew Kelly and his son Matthew Rixon as the ugly stepsisters Mel and Cheryl (not to be confused with certain female judges and best buddies on X Factor) keep the comedy varied. There is a great scene where Vine as an usher with Kelly and Rixon make a reference to every chocolate conceivable. They said it with a straight face when I saw it, but I suspect every night might yield a different result.

The music is up to date with Cinderella opening the show singing Pharrell Williams's Happy and the closing the first act with a spectacular rendition of Let It Go. There is snow falling from the ceiling, fireworks and real miniature ponies that had the kids (and even the big kids) gasping with astonishment.

There is also a special 3D part which plays on the "it's behind you" element. Not one for arachnophobes but hilarious to hear the children scream so loudly all around.

Cinderella runs at the New Wimbledon Theatre through January.


First post show impressions with @johnnyfoxlondon follow...

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