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With skipping a panto season and the current uncertainties ‘Cinderella’ at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds is a real tonic – just what the Doctor ordered!

Through the medium of pantomime the story of Cinderella is told – a story we’ve been telling for 300 years as the programme tells us. This version is written by Chris Hannon and he obviously has a wonderfully warped sense of humour, which is perfect for panto.

The storyline is strong all the way through, it’s easy for these things to be full of pointless banter and singing with not much else, however this performance keeps the story totally on track. This keeps all the audience fully engaged.

Wrapped around the story are plenty of songs, and pleasingly not too many so it doesn’t become a musical. The songs are a mixture of stage songs, pop tracks some with adapted lyrics and very, very delightful comical originals. Adding into the performance is plenty of dialogue to give depth to the story and keep your ears sharp for the jokes, sarcasm and the cleverness of what is being said.

There are endless one liners, innuendos, Bury references, Covid references, rhyming prose, sentences where each word started with the same letter and comical visual jokes, I am sure I missed some as they were packed in.

The audience participation was high, not just the ‘he’s behind you’ or the ‘oh no it isn’t’, we were shouting, singing, dancing, barking, making other noises, and much more – of course I cannot give you any spoilers but if you do go, expect to be involved.

The use of the stage was very good, any larger scene changes, or cleaning up from the makeover scene on the main stage was behind a curtain so the front of the stage could be used to continue the story. Fairy Godmother narrated sections and she was so engaging.

Set design, props, costumes and make-up were ideal and the comic timing by the actors was seamless, in fact there were no noticeable mistakes anywhere.

Let’s talk about those actors – the casting is perfect. Each character was executed flawlessly, we loved all of them, we engaged with all of them and they entertained all our senses for 2 hours. I can’t give special mention to an individual as they were all brilliant, however the Grizzle Sisters, the Dames, were fantastically hilarious and I loved their ‘A Jolly Good Jig’.

Cinderella – Becky Sanneh
Fairy Godmother – Rosemary Annabella Nkrumah
Prince Roger – Samuel Knight
Buttons – Howie Micheals
Kylie Grizzle – Chris Clarkson
Mylie Grizzle – Craig Painting
Grizelda Grizzle – Beth Tuckey
Miss Van Dini – Felicity Houlbrooke

The chorus team are children from the local area who take up the additional background characters and add to the performance with their dancing and smiles.

This is certainly a panto to watch this season and runs at Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds until 16th January.

This review first appeared on GrapevineLIVE

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds


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