Lights go down and the stage bursts with an effervescent rainbow of brilliant bright colours to match the plethora of jovial characters that come to greet us. Krysten Cummings as the radiant good-doing Fairy Godmother is our first personal well-wisher followed by Darren Hart as Buttons, both doing a sterling job of inviting the audience to embrace the tale unfolding before them.
In fact, there wasn’t one member of the well thought out cast who didn’t supersede the normal demands of ‘panto’ to offer a character that was born out of some truth and believability. Peter Straker’s voice was outstanding as Baron Hardup, Chris Jenkins was smooth and engaging as any Prince Charming should be, Stephane Anelli was a wonderful surprising talent as Dandini and all the ensemble were committed to telling a well thought-out tale of love, courage and mishaps.
It was especially delightful to watch Aisha Tawando’s portrayal of a much more feisty and smart Cinderella than we’re used to and writer, director Susie McKenna got us all ‘booing’ in all the right places as the deliciously horrid Countess Anastia. You could literally see the delight on her face every time she entered the stage and immediately had the audience hissing her back off! But the standout characters for me were the hilariously entertaining Kat B as ugly sister, Victiqua and Tony Whittle as ugly sister, Queeniqua. Their comradery and commitment to comedy was just brilliant, fun and refreshing.
From the outset, Susie McKenna’s Cinderella is classy, exhilarating, unapologetically loud and epitomizes the joyous festive spirit of Christmas!
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