“‘Ey up me ducks” – Cinderella’s in Town!
Kenneth Alan Taylor described watching this production of Cinderella as entering “the magical world of pantomime” for a few hours, and I would have to agree. The entire performance was exciting and engaging, and just as a pantomime should be – very funny.
The script for this show is cleverly written and all members of the cast achieved comic timing perfectly whilst maintaining a stylised sense of performance. It managed to follow the hilarious panto ‘formula’ with classic jokes such as “It’s behind you!” and “We’ll have to do it again then, won’t we?” whilst also integrating some newer punchlines involving witty use of props and scenery. Audience participation was also included, which was well-judged and perfectly trod the boundary between funny and embarrassing.
There is a mixture of performers within the cast, including some fond friends of the Nottingham Playhouse pantomime who have been part of it for many years (such as Tim Frater, John Elkington, Darren Southworth and Rebecca Little). This sense of familiarity among the performers, especially alongside Kenneth Alan Taylor’s writing was inviting – it created a warm, comforting, family atmosphere which amplified the already inviting feel of a pantomime. Alongside these talented and practiced cast members, the performers new to the Playhouse were also very entertaining. I especially enjoyed the comic relationship between Prince Charming and Dandini (James Nicholson and Adam Pettigrew), and thought their scenes together were engaging – and beautifully sung.
Within the performance, the band was absolutely incredible and the score seemed tailored to engage every member of the audience, irrelevant of age or experience of pantomimes. Not only were the main songs very well chosen, but also the subtle underscore of traditional Christmas tunes such as ‘In the Bleak Mid-Winter’ created a consistently festive atmosphere among the more modern songs. As well as being musically fantastic, the band was also interwoven into the script, and these interjections from the musicians broke the fourth wall and really encapsulated the panto spirit.
Overall, this production is very clean and crisp, with every aspect executed in excellent pantomime style – which may not be everybody’s favourite style, but it is certainly difficult to perfect. Pantomimes are intended to engage everyone and bring people together, and Cinderella certainly did that. Audience members from 5 years old to over 80 years old enjoyed this show; there really was something for everybody in this fun-filled pantomime.
It’s now become the time of year,
When panto brings us joy and cheer.
The ‘oh-no-you-don’ts’ and the ‘oh-yes-you-dos’,
Are a mockery of all, even me and you.
Buttons is the star that shines,
He’s enthusiastic and his humour fine.
He engages well and shows the care,
He shows for Cinderella, the last fair.
The sisters gave the funny kicks,
But stopped Cinderella through their cons and tricks.
Nothing held back her own Prince Charming,
From finding Cinderella, his beloved darling.
In the end, all is well,
The marriage happened and the couple are swell.
No one stopped them, they would find,
Each other as their love entwined.
It has been many years since I fully enjoyed a panto, (Oh yes it has!) but, don’t worry Buttons, you’re safe. For the first time in years, I was laughing along with the rest of the audience as children and adults alike were entertained by the happenings onstage.
Opening each act was a chorus of dancing woodland creatures, who marvelled everyone and grabbed our attention ready for the show to begin. Personally, I was impressed right away at the skill the dancers had while simultaneously wondering how they weren’t baking in their beautifully designed but heavy costumes.
Moving on to the main characters, everyone embodied their parts with tremendous skill and managed to keep them fresh and enjoyable. Buttons (Tim Frater) got us interested in the story right away and entertained us throughout. He was funny, heartfelt and interacted with the other characters and the audience tremendously. Taking a break from the norm, Cinderella was played by Kelly Agredo, who is a brunette. She was lovely with everyone and never once dropped her sweet demeanour, even when faced with our villains. We’ll get to them later, though; first I want to talk about our Prince Charming and his humorous manservant. I was pleased to discover that the production team didn’t fall into the trap of having a dim-witted prince or servant as I feel that it cheapens the story. Prince Charming (James Nicholson) and Dandini (Adam Pettigrew) were intellectual equals who were not afraid to poke fun at each other. Our Fairy Godmother (Claire Storey) was quick-witted and had a melodic voice, giving her an affect that made us trust her, a very important trait for someone in her position. Now, finally, to our Ugly Stepsisters and their wicked Aunt Devilla! John Elkington (Bella) and Darren Southworth (Donna) had us rolling with laughter and Rebecca Little (Devilla) only helped them along. They rolled with the punches as a few things went wrong but they took it in their stride and only added to the comedic affect.
The set added to the magic of the night and truly transported us to the woods, the castle and Cinderella’s broken down old home. Everyone’s costumes were beautiful and complimented the characters, helping to weave the magic of the night together.
I promise you, old or young, this is a play to enchant all!
A Festive Treat
This year the Nottingham Playhouse brings us the pantomime Cinderella, it is a sparkling, energetic and entertaining treat to kick-start your Christmas. It was directed by Kenneth Alan Taylor and although pantomime is not a personal preference of mine this production had every child in the audience up on their feet at some point, fully absorbed in the story. It’s definitely a show that would excite and inspire any child through the singing, dancing, design, characters and story.
As always the production features some very talented performers, I was particularly impressed by Kelly Agredo as Cinderella’s and James Nicholson as Prince Charming’s singing and dancing skills. Also the energy and witty adlibs of John Elkington as the ugly sister Bella tremendously added to the comedy of the show and he once again portrayed a brilliant pantomime dame. Although I don’t find pantomime particularly humorous the energy shown by all performers made the show very entertaining and watchable.
The set and costume design by Tim Meacock were a big highlight for me, matching the over the top nature of pantomime, the costumes really helped bring the characters to life by emphasising their personalities. I also thought the song choices were very good this year, mixing old classics with very modern tunes that all the kids were singing along to. Each was performed beautifully and cleverly complimented the action, the musical director John Morton did an amazing job with the live band.
Overall, I would recommend Cinderella as it’s the perfect festive treat for children, totally engaging and exciting them with the positive energy of the performance. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of pantomime it is a fun evening out that leaves you feeling happy and ready for the Christmas season.
Oh yes they did!
The Cinderella story is a classic fairy-tale and when a pantomime can be incredible as there are so many characters that can be exaggerated to become a perfect dame character, and this is exactly what has happened here. They have completely vamped up the tame Disney adaptation to a laugh out loud show suitable for all ages. With references to current pop culture like dance moves and songs it appeals to an adolescent audience as well as smaller children, even some naughty jokes in there for the adults watching.
The set as usual is a typical painted pantomime set, easy to change to different settings, and seamless to the audience. The artists involved must be incredibly skilled to come up with such beautiful back drops for an equally amazing show. The costumes were also up to par with some very silly costumes for the sisters, like dressing up like fountains! The dresses for the fairy godmother and Cinderella at the ball were exquisitely designed to make a young girl dream of becoming a princess.
The actors were amazing, the comedy characters having perfect timing as always, and even adlibbing where they could to make an extra joke. My favourite singing duo was Prince Charming and his servant Dandini, who harmonised beautifully and sang some good songs that will get you singing along too. Cinderella, although not blonde as advertised, was a great singer and particularly her dancing was stunning. She had the charisma of the character and really put across the idea of Cinderella being all-good, even towards the sisters who really were horrible to her.
I liked how they changed the stepmother to an aunt, as this created a different relationship to explore during the pantomime, both with the sisters and Cinderella. My favourite part was when they were trying to convince Bella to chop off her toes to be able to fit the shoes, I found it hilarious and my sides were splitting by the end of it.
Overall I think this is an absolute gem, and a must see in Nottinghamshire for pantomimes. The cast is so inclusive and adapt to the crowd to whatever is needed, and it is just a feel good Christmas must see.
How much glitter?
This year’s panto was full of joy and laughter. The atmosphere was amazing and the audience sounded and looked as if they were having the time of their life! Throughout the night the usual jokes were included such as “Nighty Nighty” and “All in, all in”. However, overall, the best bit was the set and costumes. The amount of glitter used was unbelievable and how the actors did the quick changes we will never know.
The set was a mixture of glitter and paint which transported the audience to a new world. The painted gauzes were amazing. They had a selection of dark blues and golds as the set to create the feeling of panto and Cinderella mixed together.
John Elkington and Darren Southworth played a great duo as the two ugly sisters, Bella and Donna. Their aunt (Rebecca Little) added on to the duo to form a terrific trio. Though this was not the usual role that Rebecca Little plays, as she’s normally the fairy. She took the role in well and played an outstanding part as the evil ‘step-mother’.
This year’s music was incredible. I loved the combination of old and new songs!
All in all this year’s panto was a huge success and I look forward to seeing more in the future.
In Limerick form.
One night on an evening quite Stella
I went to see a show called Cinderella
About a girl who’s a shut-in
And a man who’s named Buttons
And a guy in a dress they call Bella
On the whim of a young princely fellow
And a man with a hat like a Cello
They decide on a ball
And invited them all
Even if they did look a bit yellow
But Cinderella’s dressed all up in sorrow
With hardly a dress to even borrow
But then a fairy appears
To run interference
On the terms that she leave before morrow
So she dances the whole night away
And meets the Prince – happy ending, Hooray!
But the clock strikes midnight
And gives her a fright
And riddles the Prince with dismay
So the Prince sets out on a quest
One that he shall not soon rest
Until he finds his lover
A woman like no other
Quite different from all of the rest
But it’s a story you’ve already heard
Nothing new I’ve said, not a word
At least that’s what I reckon
And by the act of the second
It’s all quite the same as the third
The humour is dryer than mars
Though I did like the joke about cars
And while it’s by quite so gritty
It’s characteristically witty
And quite worth the bother, 4 stars
Cinderella is forced to be like a slave by her heartless cruel stepsisters.
Cinderella’s only wish is for romance and equality.
The story has a lot of meaning behind it and each year the show at the panto gets a fresher look upon it.
It was a real fairy tale with everything you would want from a pantomime.
Amazing costumes, brilliant casts, sets, costume and great vocals and music.
It was such an intelligent play and deserves a lot more people viewing it.
They brought back old memories of the Whip and Nae Nae and made everyone join in which I especially loved because it was great watching everyone get together and have a laugh about it. One of the things that stood out to me was the way they showed who sponsored the show (Nottingham City Transport) was very clever and quite unique.
It was such a fantastic atmosphere and I would so rewatch it and recommend it to family and friends.
It’s that time of year again,
When the snow starts falling,
And everyone is doing last minute Christmas shopping,
It also means at the Playhouse it’s show time,
As they’re showing the Cinderella pantomime,
So get the family together,
Have an amazing time despite the cold weather,
Come and see if you will fit the glass slipper,
With laughter and enjoyment all night long,
You’re bound to have a good time and maybe a little sing song,
I hope you will join us for fun and excitement this year,
And come join in on the festive cheer
As I say every year, it’s not Christmas until you’ve seen the Playhouse panto! The play is always a glittery, camp extravaganza and this year was no different, with spectacular performances from John Elkington, Darren Southworth and Tim Frater as my personal highlights. The music deserves a mention, with Uncle Johnny Morton and the boys in the band having us all bopping up and down in our seats with renditions of both chart-topping tunes and the classics, with the inevitable sing-a-long at the end leaving grins on all the audience’s faces. The entire room getting up and dancing along with most of the cast was another high point, as well as the sketch with the car- no spoilers, but it left my sides splitting. The same old pantomime jokes that seem to get better with every retelling were out in force, as they are every year, along with several more tongue-in-cheek gags. The costumes were the usual riot of glitter, colour and comedy. I won’t bore you further with any more details; after all, the panto is a Christmas institution. We all know and love it, and this year’s was no different. I would, of course, recommend Cinderella to anyone and everyone, and I’d like to take this opportunity to wish anyone reading this a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
I attended the opening night of the Nottingham Playhouse’s production of Cinderella, on Saturday the 2nd of December, and was absolutely blown away!
Cinderella tells the story of a young, saddened girl who is treated terribly by her relatives, and follows her through her journey as she attends the Prince’s ball, leaving him desperate in the search for her identity as she mysteriously vanishes at midnight.
The brightly coloured, fanciful sets truly added to the general feeling of the story, and the fairytale and fanciful nature of it. The most noticeable piece for me was the mesh backdrop at the background of the set itself. Initially, I didn’t realise that it was there but when the revelation behind it was made, I was stunned, and it, again, added to the sense of fancy around the scene at the time.
I couldn’t possibly just single out any one actor from this production as they all equally performed very well, and gave performances of their lifetimes. However, Buttons’ and the step sisters’ (Tim Frater, John Elkington and Darren Southworth) engagement with the audience throughout kept us all thoroughly entertained, and a smile never left my face for the entirety of the performance. By involving the audience to cry out, dance and cheer, the production was definitely made more enjoyable!
For a modern Nottingham audience, the soundtrack and music was perfect! Modern pieces were entwined within the show and allowed even the youngest of the audience to join in, and to encourage them to get to their feet and dance along.
Overall, I did thoroughly enjoy the performance, and would recommend it to people of all ages, whether you have been to the pantomime many times before, or if this is a first. You will depart with at least a smile on your face by the end, and it will leave you craving more.