Cinderella Panto at Malvern Theatres Review

Cinderella Panto at Malvern Theatres Review


Posted 2023-12-17 by Alison in Birmingham follow

Thu 14 Dec 2023 - Sun 07 Jan 2024

Malvern's Christmas panto is renowned for being a charming, traditional show and this year it has stepped up on its glamour, effects and adult laughs.

The 2023 fairytale at Malvern Theatres is Cinderella that runs through Christmas until January 7. Its celebrity name is ex-Coronation Street actress Katie McGlynn as the Fairy Godmother although it's regular Mark James as Buttons getting the biggest cheers.

The well-loved comedian and entertainer has become the face of Malvern's panto and is back again. More than that, James is the heart and soul of this annual show and there's a lot of love in the room for him. Shouting out his catchphrase 'Where's me mates?', there's a rousing response of 'Here we are'.

Yet for once he's not the brightest comic star on stage as he's got competition from the ugly sisters. Hilarious drag queens Jamie Morris and Tarot 'Taz' Joseph steal the show as evil Melody and Harmony.

Their costumes get wilder as do their adult jokes, which takes this year's show up a notch in terms of entertainment. It's clever enough on two levels to go above the heads of little ones in the audience and makes for a more rounded show for all the family.

Among the wonderful costumes are the sisters' homage to McDonald's which sees them dressed as a burger and fries, shown above with Cinderella. They are an experienced pair who have the audience like putty in their hands with their uplifting and risqué banter.

There's plenty of fun elsewhere with good rapport between impressive Ben Brooker as Prince Charming and his servant Dandini(Jordan Lee Davies). The Prince's funny horse-like reaction to Cinderella is a winning running joke that Brooker does well.

There's even a delightful Morecombe and Wise style comedy routine involving the Prince and Buttons as they fight for the attention of Cinderella in a musical number to The Carpenters' hit Close To You.

Brooker and Jacks, as the Prince and Cinderella, are both well versed in stage, which is clear from their stunning singing voices. Going down this route rather than more celebrity names helps to keep the quality and authenticity of this panto, especially with plenty of musical numbers. Old and new tracks keep it relevant for everyone from Kylie's Padum Padum to Mannfred Mann's Do Wah Diddy Diddy.

While McGlynn, who played Sinead Tinker in Corrie is the most famous name and allows for many Coronation Street and soap opera jokes, she's not as vibrant as the rest of the cast. She opens the show and it took a little while to get going.

Once James and the Ugly Sisters appear, the tempo lifts and it ends up feeling more dazzling, funny and slick than ever with glamorous sparkling lights framing the stage and bigger, better costumes and routines.

That said, it's still some of the traditional moments that prove the most thrilling. It's one of the few pantos where you'll still get water squirted into the crowd and a real white pony draws gasps as it led a special horse-drawn carriage taking Cinderella to the ball.

Popular Mark James keeps the action flowing as compere extraordinaire and there were queues waiting to get photos with him in the foyer after the show. He's already signed up for next year's Malvern panto - Sleeping Beauty from December 12, 2024.

With joyous entertainment and a lively cast, Malvern's s Cinderella is still one of the most charming and entertaining pantos in the Midlands. It's a cracker of a show.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

For tickets and information, visit Malvern Theatres website here.

273076 - 2023-12-17 10:00:29


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