Reviewed by Nikki Cotter
Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
When it comes to festive family fun you can always rely on Regal Entertainments to deliver the goods. There’s no expense is spared in this year’s panto, giving us not one but two stars of Britain’s Got Talent (three including Chuck), Corrie’s Kimberley Hart-Simpson and St Helen’s panto favourite Lewis Devine. Add to this a fabulous Prince Charming in the form of Joe Sleight, a magical Fairy Godmother played by Rachael Wood and two glorious ugly sisters, Kristopher Bosch and Richard Aucott and you’ve certainly got all the ingredients for a whole heap of fun.
This glittering production is everything you’d want from a panto from lavish sets to elaborate costumes, Cinderella ticks every box. The witty script is littered with local references, stuffed with silliness and there’s even a TikTok dance thrown into the mix. There’s audience participation a-go-go as well as a perfect mix of much-loved chart hits from recent No.1’s to musical theatre favourites.
Kimberley Hart-Simpson makes for a wonderful Cinderella, she’s extremely likeable with great comic timing and a superb singing voice. Lewis Devine is brilliant fun as Buttons, the two of them have some fantastic scenes together made even funnier with the addition of love rival Prince Charming (Joe Sleight) thrown into the mix. All three seriously impress on the vocal front and are clearly loving every manic minute on stage.
Britain’s Got Talent stars Jon Courtenay, Jamie Leahay and Chuck are used to great effect both as characters within the storyline then entertainers at the palace ball where both are given the opportunity to let their talent shine. The ugly sisters Borisina (Richard Aucott) and Trussiana (Kristopher Bosch) are wicked fun with some of the best pantomime dame costumes I’ve ever seen.
Director Chantelle Nolan has thrown in some really magical moments which are greeted with gasps of delight, plus of course some mischievous surprises to keep us on our toes. Choreographer Nazene Langfield has gifted both the adult and juvenile dancers with some beautiful routines which lift the already sparkling ensemble scenes. Special mention must go to Lewis Devine, Jon Courtenay and Rachael Wood who somehow manage to get through a hilariously chaotic 12 Days of Christmas, a real highlight of the show and exactly what panto is all about.
This is a real family friendly show, suitable for all ages with plenty to keep little ones engaged as well as the cheeky gags us older theatre goers like to listen out for. The final transformation scene is as special and as sparkly as it gets, giving us the happy ending we’d all hoped for. If you’re in need of some Christmas cheer then get yourself down to St Helens Theatre Royal where they’re dishing it out daily!
Cinderella is on at St Helens Theatre Royal until Sunday 8th January tickets available here.