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BrumHour saw Cinderella at the invitation of Wolverhampton Grand.
By Julie Wallis
Review: Cinderella at Wolverhampton Grand
Script written and Directed by Will Brenton
Wolverhampton Grand is showing Cinderella the pantomime until 9th January and it’s an absolute hoot.
Based on the classic fairy tale of Cinderella: a girl who has a wicked stepmother and two step sisters but who meets and falls in love with Prince Charming is so very well known I’m giving no more synopsis than that.
With CBBC presenter Evie Pickerill as Cinderella clearly, the younger children loved her and I must admit as an adult I was jolly impressed with her fabulous singing voice.
Obviously, Denise Pearson as the fairy godmother, has plenty of songs but as a singer I expected her to be fantastic and she was! She looked every inch the part of a beautiful fairy godmother too. The outfits are pretty special throughout.
I chuckled when the two step sisters reveal their names. Tess (Ella Biddlecombe) and Claudia (Britt Lenting) because with Prince Charming being played by A J Pritchard and his valet Dandini being played by Curtis Pritchard. There was of course a nod or two towards Strictly Come Dancing (Curtis being on Dancing with the Stars).
Somewhat surprisingly, Curtis is a very nice singer and I truly loved seeing both young men really enjoy their roles. They looked like they were having such fun, as was I.
It wouldn’t be fair for me to talk about Cinderella and not mention Buttons (Tam Ryan) who really gets his teeth into his character and encourages lots of audience participation. Audience participation, that’s not so much encouraged but more obligatory. I found myself seriously shouting “it’s behind you” during what I can only describe as the funniest version of The Twelve days of Christmas.
Julie Stark took her role as wicked stepmother Baroness Hardup perfectly seriously and was most certainly channelling her Angelina Jolie in Maleficent. She had oodles of youngsters hating her, they booed and shouted and I genuinely found it amusing the way the little ones get so involved they shout at the characters.
Dame Penny Pockets (Ian Adams) gives us our obligatory theatre ‘dame’ and once again a great character, fantastic costumes and funny lines. What good is a traditional panto without a great Dame?
I can confidently say there are no weak characters or plot holes in this and I really loved every minute but… the star of this fantastic show, for me, wasn’t a person. Not a song. Not even an animal. The real star, for me, the thing that makes this the most special, spectacular, visually stunning panto I have ever seen is the staging. The backdrop is, without doubt, the most stunning I have ever seen. I’m not going to spoil it, but you will believe two mice can turn into two horses and pull Cinderella’s coach.
And finally, don’t wear your most expensive suede coat if you are planning to sit in the stalls. You may well get wet. This is, after all, a very traditional panto. Packed full of laughs you will come out feeling better than when you went in.
Cinderella is at Wolverhampton Grand until 9th January 2022. Book tickets here: grandtheatre.co.uk/whats-on/cinderella