Panto isn’t just for Christmas at the Theatre Royal in St Helens with Regal Entertainments continuing their tradition of regular school holiday pantomimes with this Easter’s offering of Cinderella.
The theatre continues its run of attracting well-known names to St Helens with Lee Latchford-Evans from cult pop group Steps taking the role of Prince Charming.
A trained actor as well as singer, Latchford-Evans showed off an easy likeable charm as the Prince as well as a predictably good singing voice.
Georgina Parkinson was a sweet-voiced Cinders with funny man Lewis Devine returning as Buttons following his stint at The venue at Christmas, and proving just as popular with audiences this time.
Resident dame Si Foster (who also co-writes with Ben Ebgelen) and Mark Newall take on the role of Kendall and Kylie the Ugly Sisters – a brilliant double act who throw plenty of shade and wow in a series of tremendously tacky frocks and wicked weaves. Watch out for the Bags for Life gag – bravo!
Samantha Palin is a warm and distractedly dotty Fairy Godmother, with big hair and bling that wouldn’t look out of place on a Real Housewife of Cheshire. And Andrew Geater is a dashing if somewhat snooty Dandini – they both have fantastic voices and get their moments to shine vocally.
I’m a sucker for the traditional panto transformation scene that usually closes Act 1 and the show certainly doesn’t disappoint here with a gorgeous mix of ballet, baby animals (courtesy of the charming juvenile dancers) and yes – real Shetland ponies! (One of these makes a hilarious reappearance in Act II that had my young co-reviewer in stitches and that I know he will be talking about for days to come.)
All of the music is incredibly well chosen. From 80s anthems like Holding Out For a Hero and Love Lifts Us Up (Where We Belong) to musical theatre floor fillers like One Night Only and Fabulous Baby, every song was a total crowd pleaser.
And needless to say Step’s fans won’t go away disappointed with a medley of their biggest hits featuring to the audience’s total delight.
Add to this beautiful and vibrant costumes, charming sets and a brilliantly funny and topical script (anyone who has ever pleaded with ‘Alexa’ will appreciate one gag in particular) that will appeal to all ages, adds up to a warm and witty show that will leave you feeling fuzzy inside.
And with ticket prices starting at an incredibly reasonable £13 – this is a high quality family pantomime at applaudingly affordable prices.
A cracking treat for Easter!
On until Sunday 15th April, tickets available here.