Reviewed by Nikki Cotter
Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
First staged in 2016 at the London Palladium then last year at Birmingham’s legendary Hippodrome Qdos Entertainment’s Cinderella has been brought bang up to date by writer Alan McHugh with Corrie jokes a plenty and hilarious local references a go-go. Both Ben Nickles who plays Buttons and Ugly Sister Les Dennis adding material to the laugh a minute script ensuring a riotous night out is guaranteed.
All the stops have been pulled out in this spectacular production; lavish sets, colourful costumes, catchy songs and a superb cast ensuring the Opera House panto remains at the top of theatre goers agenda for another festive season.
Our Ugly Sisters Phelina (Connor McIntyre) and Michaela (Les Dennis) are mad for it as they blend the silly with the slapstick and throw in some cheeky charm for good measure, the pairing is genius as panto pro Les leads the way, reminding us all just why he’s one of the best in the business.
Rochdale comedian Ben Nickless quickly becomes an audience favourite as Buttons; he laps up the applause and delights with outrageously funny comedy capers and hilarious impressions, a born entertainer who comes very close to stealing the show.
Gareth Gates and Shannon Flynn make for a perfect pairing as the dashing Prince Charming and the down on her luck Cinderella proving that they’re not afraid of getting stuck in with the slapstick when their romantic meeting turns into a hilarious battle of wills with lovesick Buttons.
Hayley-Ria Christian makes for a super sassy Fairy Godmother while Jack Wilcox is a commanding and charismatic Dandini.
The ensemble cast and young company, always a favourite of mine in panto add vibrancy with slick delivery of Fabian Aloise’s choreography adding additional charm to this feel-good family show.
Qdos Entertainment has got Cinderella just right in terms of pitch, the script is jam-packed with hilarious gags and witty one–liners while the innuendo we all expect from panto never tips into crudeness, its good old cheeky fun and plenty of it.
The transformation scene at the end of Act I really has to be seen to be believed and is worth the ticket price alone as the gasps of delight from the audience both young and old are heard loud and clear. While panto may one of theatre’s oldest traditions this production feels fresh and vibrant.
Cinderella really is the perfect package; it’s lavish, sparkly, sequined fun suitable for all the family. This extravagant production is everything panto should be and more.
Guaranteed to entertain from start to finish leaving you feeling suitably festive and full of Christmas cheer. Big, bold and brilliant!
Cinderella is on until Sunday 30th December tickets available here.