Sunday, 3 December 2017

Cinderella At Nottingham Playhouse REVIEW

Once upon a time, in a magically serendipitous local Christmas fairytale, no sooner had one newly matched Royal couple visited our fair city this very week then, slap my thigh, another popped merrily right up the very next day, complete with a Meghan Markle-lookalike Cinderella in the launch of the annual Nottingham Playhouse Christmas panto. 

A beautifully charming dancing woodland creature scene with delightfully gambolling badgers, foxes and hedgehogs, a loveable Buttons and a boy-band-blonde Prince Charming rockin some damn fine duets with a genial Dandini all set the scene of cutesy panto adorableness which all suitably crazily descended into a madcap riot with the unleashing of the triple-threat-terrible-trio of the Step Sisters and their Auntie, the Dowager Duchess Devilla, deliciously-devilishly played by a raucous Rebecca Little.

And oh boy, was John Elkington doing it for himself as sensational Step-Sister Bella, whether wisecracking local gags, batting away first night glitches with a flutter of false eyelashes or belting out a bring-the-house-down torch song solo, woah!

What the show lacked in a bit of a short-changed side-step off-stage transformation scene and a royal palace ball scene that only appeared to have five guests, it gleefully made up for with great one liners and sight-gags including a brilliantly simple joke about hiding a key under a clock that was only a painting on the set, an in-out in-out screwball broken-down car comedy routine, whooped-up incongruous dance routines and local reference jokes taking the mick out of everything from Beeston to Broadmarsh all mixed together with more running gags about sponsors Nottingham City Transport than you could shake a Robin Hood Pay As You Go Card at (with another two gags guaranteed to turn up right behind -you!) All topped off with a surreal but strangely soothing tap dancing fluffy bunny rabbits number.

But the funniest part of the show was the fantastic ad-libbing by John Elkington with children from the audience brought onstage to sing along with Bella in the Songsheet Scene. And there was also a special surprise guest appearance onstage (and apparently the biggest surprise to himself) by none other than Adam Penford on his very first day as the new Artistic Director of Nottingham Playhouse.

With a glorious array of outrageous costumes, beautiful dresses, a glittering golden carriage and stunning crystal slippers to sprinkle stardust on your festive season, it's time to officially cross Prince Harry off your Christmas wishlist and treat yourself instead to a Haribo sweetie high, wave your spinning psychedelic toy windmills in the air, indulge in cathartic bellowing audience participation and release your pre-Christmas angst and/or get right into the festive spirit, Nottingham Playhouse Cinderella panto-style.

Cinderella is at Nottingham Playhouse until Saturday 20 Jan 2018. Full details of show times and ticket prices can be found on the Nottingham Playhouse website

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