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Cinderella Pantomime at Malvern Theatres - Review

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by ABC Writer (subscribe)
Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
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Alison Hammond leads the stars in Malvern panto
While theatres in larger cities opt for big scale pantos, Malvern Festival Theatre's festive offering has always had an entertaining but simpler charm about it that punched above its weight.

Alison Hammond, Malvern Theatres, Cinderella, pantos
Alison Hammond is in the panto in Malvern

This year, the fairytale is Cinderella and has the pull of TV personalities like Alison Hammond from This Morning as the Fairy Godmother and Britain's Got Talent 2010 finalist Mark James as Buttons.

The panto is on at Malvern Theatres until January 7 and has the usual basic scenery and storylines, choosing to focus on characters and songs once again.

There's also the traditional favourites of sweets thrown into the crowd, water guns blasted on to the audience and plenty of calls for 'it's behind you' or 'oh no it isn't' to keep children, in particular, happy.

There's no evil stepmother but the two ugly sisters make up for that in the form of a pair of gloriously catty panto dames played by David Ball and Paul Lawrence Thomas.

Malvern Theatre, Cinderella, panto
Panto dames at Malvern

While Hammond and James are both refreshing additions to the stage, they make up in likeability and enthusiasm what they lack in panto and acting experience.

Hammond especially adds an extra dimension as the sparkling fairy who disguises herself as an old Jamaican woman (with a dodgy Brummie influenced Caribbean accent ) and later does a rap number to the Missy Elliot hit Get Your Freak On.

Cinderella was a little slow to get going and some of the song choices were a bit downbeat compared to previous years, which meant that the show sometimes dragged.

Gemma Naylor, who children will know from Nick Jr, CBBC or Nickelodeon, was playing Cinderella and had a strong voice but not any real presence on stage.

It was the more seasoned pantomime actors that made the most impact. David Ball - one half of The Ugly Sisters - was particularly good at ad-libbing to brighten up the panto.

Malvern Theatre, Cinderella, panto
A slick performance by Prince Charming and Dandini

Then there was seasoned 'Prince' Ben Hawlow as Prince Charming who made up a strong double act with Mark Peachey as servant Dandin with some slick song and dance routines.

With tickets costing between 11.76 and 28.56, Malvern provides a sound, enjoyable panto that is still real value for money. There's no real special effects and big budget sets but it's a festive treat full of frivolity.


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Why? Good value panto fun for children
When: Until January 7, 2018
Phone: 01684 892277
Where: Malvern Theatres
Cost: Price: 11.76-28.56
Your Comment
I would have to disagree with this as I felt that firstly Gemma Naylor was spellbounding and amazing in the role of Cinderella. Alison Hammond has done numerous pantos so why are you saying its her Debut, she has been acting since she was 11 and I felt her acting in this was great . Mark James was a brilliant addition and the children loved him . What of the best Panto’s I’ve seen in Malvern x
by Natas (score: 0|2) 1367 days ago
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