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Panto! Cinderella

No wonder Cinderella wanted to go to the ball so badly… New Wimbledon Theatre has the hottest panto ticket in town - it's magical, laugh-out-loud funny and unpredictable. What more could you want?

No wonder Cinderella wanted to go to the ball so badly… New Wimbledon Theatre has the hottest panto ticket in town! With dancing pumpkins, magical unicorns and a member of the Pussy Cat Dolls, you’re all set up for a fabulously fun evening of panto gold. The show was magical, laugh-out-loud funny and unpredictable. What more could you want?

In true New Wimbledon Theatre style, the panto featured an ensemble of familiar faces. Opera singer, Lesley Garrett played the warm and wonderful fairy godmother. A shining moment for many, was when the fairy godmother waved her magic wand to transform Cinderella’s ride into a glistening carriage which hovered over the audience’s heads.

Embracing the ‘gen Z’ craze for unicorns, two mystical horned horses whisked Cinderella’s carriage to the ball to meet her all-singing, all-dancing prince. Played by Edward Chitticks, this hooray- Henry prince looked like he’d sauntered straight off a Made in Chelsea set. A special mention must also go to his side kick Dhandini, played by Will Jennings, who bought the house down with his hilarious impressions of the prince.

All photos by Craig Sugden

Trading in a Pussy Cat Doll reunion for a night at the ball, Melody Thornton played the part of Cinderella, using her beautiful voice to enchant the audience. It was slightly disappointing that Cinderella’s character hadn’t diverted from the old-fashioned ‘damsel in distress’ trope.  Her feeble portrayal of Cinderella trailed behind Disney’s shift to empowered female protagonists (Elsa in Frozen).

Samantha Womack, known for playing Ronnie Mitchell from EastEnders, played a sultry, and sauntering sinister stepmother. She glared at the audience like a bird of prey, proudly welcoming squawks of ‘boos.’ Joined by her daughters, the ugly step-sisters Verruca (Leon Craig) and Hernia (Bobby Delaney), the terrible trio were just too funny not to love.

Womack’s wonderful portrayal of the Baroness Demonica Hardup was remarkable from the very start with her opening number of ‘Fabulous Baby’ and despite all the boos bellowing onto the stage, she really was fabulous!

Bringing double the trouble as a comedian and magician Pete Firman, who played Buttons, stole the show. One particularly funny part was when Buttons and the ugly step sisters panned the camera on the audience projecting them on a big screen and placing speech bubbles next to their faces. Unlucky for the select embarrassed few, but the rest of the audience loved it.

If you’re looking for a panto with a magical set, spectacular dancing, singing and fall-off from-your-seat laughter, grab your tickets to the ball – Such fun! Oh, and your children will love it too, of course.

Cinderella is at New Wimbledon Theatre in Wimbledon until Sun 5 Jan 2020. atgtickets.com

Review by Alice Ridsdale

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