The sign of a good pantomime is one in which the younger members of the audience bounce with excitement and hoot with unrepressed laughter. By that measure Cinderella meets the mark – and exceeds it.
Star rating: * * * * *
The production is a fair bit of fun for the adults, too. But not at the expense of the kids’ enjoyment; and that’s a difficult balance to strike.
Over the years some city pantos have become too clever by half. So it’s wonderful to see a pantomime delivering everything that it should.
Although the main parts are taken by serious professionals, the lesser-known names give a remarkable account of themselves, too.
Dandini (Colin McCredie of Taggart and River City), along with The Fairy Godmother (Jane McCarry, who plays Isa in Still Game) play their parts with a big portion of fun. Prince Charming (James MacKenzie who was CBBC’s Raven) is every part the archetypal Prince Charming. They couldn’t have had better.
Cinderella (Emma “Soraya” Beard) is exactly how the fairytale princess should look and sound. While Buttons (Arron Usher) is the character the children most identify with; happy to join in the nonsense if he is leading it.
On top of this, The Ugly Sisters have real charisma and make a magical combination. Bertha Bubblesqueak (Donna Hazelton) offers a sterling performance; her natural charisma demands audience participation.
Such a sterling cast of characters would guarantee a top-rate pantomime, but there is more. The combination of set, costume, live band, and clever lighting assaults your senses – in a good way. It is exactly like watching a huge cartoon, with all the colour and energy that invokes, coming alive before your very eyes.
Surreal, yet joyful, and exactly the sort of thing that will hold any child’s attention from beginning to end. It is a sparkling spectacle that works on so many levels.
Aside from all this there are a couple of huge surprises, visual gags a-plenty, sing-along, and audience participation. Little wonder that the packed audience clearly enjoyed every hi-energy moment.
Want to capture that magical, traditional pantomime feeling – complete with magical snow? Go see it.