LA SOIRÉE / @LaSoireeLive / #LaSoiree


La Soirée is thrilled to announce that cabaret darling Camille O’Sullivan will be returning to the little, red round stage this Christmas to perform in the show which catapulted her on her meteoric rise to stardom.

La Soirée and O’Sullivan’s shared history goes back right to the start of the show’s inception at the Edinburgh Festival 2004 when O’Sullivan was among the motley crew of troubadours and cabaret dreamers who set the Fringe on fire. In the eleven years since both O’Sullivan and La Soirée have toured the world, performing at iconic venues, picking up awards and critical acclaim along the way, but always with the spit and sawdust of the carnival world pumping through their veins. It is with a special brand of excitement that both return to the intimate, in-the-round setting of the Spiegeltent, to the venue where it all began, alongside many friends from the original 2004 show as well as new members of the dysfunctional family.

A potent cocktail of Irish charm and French smoulder, with looks to die for and 100% bombshell curves, Camille O’Sullivan is a real star. Her impassioned performances hark back to the era of the Weimar Republic, while her extraordinary voice is in a class all of its own. Drawn irresistibly to the dark side, she teases great depths of emotion out of songs by eclectic artists and once seen, she is never forgotten.

Previously an award-winning architect and portrait painter, Camille enjoys a formidable international reputation for her dramatic interpretations of the narrative songs of artists such as Nick Cave, Tom Waits, David Bowie and Radiohead. The award-winning singer has stunned audiences around the world with sell-out performances at Sydney Opera House, Royal Festival Hall and The Roundhouse. Acclaimed by audiences and critics alike, Camille recently won the prestigious Helpmann Award for Best Performance for her sold-out 10 night run at the Sydney Festival and the Herald Angel Award for her solo performance in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Rape of Lucrece at Edinburgh International Festival.


The crowned winner of this year’s prestigious Olivier Award for Best Entertainment and fresh from a magnificent world tour, the awe-inspiring cabaret sensation have returned home to London for a sixth season in the capital. La Soirée made their triumphant return to London on 27 October 2015, garnering five star reviews and audience acclaim, but the run at the deliciously decadent Spiegeltent at Southbank Centre must end on 17 January 2016.

The irresistible theatrical phenomenon has now seen more than 75 artists take their place on the iconic red stage across five continents, with over 150 acts between them. Audiences and critics alike have been wooed by La Soirée’s ever-expanding, fabulously dysfunctional family in more than 25 cities, from Darwin to Manila, stopping off at Hong Kong, Melbourne, Montreal, Paris and New York along the way.

So dust off the cobwebs and sashay on over to the La Soirée Spiegeltent, a velvet draped salon of carved wood, polished mirrors, crystal and leadlight. Prepare to be amazed, astonished and aroused by the very crème de la crème of the cabaret world.

La Soirée is presented in London by Brett Haylock, Mark Rubinstein and Mick Perrin.



La Soirée
La Soirée Spiegeltent at Southbank Centre
27 October 2015 – 17 January 2016

Box office: 0844 847 9910
Tickets from £15
For VIP Packages and party options please call 020 7021 0787.
Twitter: @LaSoireeLive
Instagram: LaSoireeLive
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IN THE HEIGHTS receives 9 WhatsOnStage Award nominations





IN THE HEIGHTS by Miranda,        , Music and Lyrics - Lin-Manuel Miranda, Director - Luke Sheppard, Choreographer - Drew Mconie, Kings Cross Theatre, London, 2015, Credit: Johan Persson/

The 2016 WhatsOnStage Awards nominations have been announced today, with In The Heightsreceiving nominations in 9 categories, the highest number of nominations for any one production.

Nominations were received in every eligible category, for Best Actor in a Musical (Sam Mackay), Best Actress in a Musical (Lily Frazer), Best Supporting Actor in a Musical (David Bedella), Best Supporting Actress in a Musical (Victoria Hamilton-Barritt), Best New Musical, Best Direction (Luke Sheppard), Best Choreography (Drew McOnie), Best Set Design (takis) and Best Lighting Design (Howard Hudson).

In The Heights is now playing at King’s Cross Theatre following a critically acclaimed sell-out UK premiere at Southwark Playhouse in 2014. Initially booking at King’s Cross Theatre for a limited 4 week run, it has been extended until Sunday 10 April 2016.

In The Heights is an uplifting and exhilarating journey into Washington Heights, one of Manhattan’s most vibrant communities – a place where the coffee is light and sweet, the windows are always open and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It’s a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggle can be deciding which traditions to take with you, and which ones to leave behind. With a gripping story and unforgettable Latin and hip-hop infused score, In The Heights is a ground-breaking contemporary musical about what it takes to make a living, what it costs to have a dream, and what it means to be home.

In The Heights opened at Broadway’s Richard Rodgers Theatre in 2008 where it was nominated for thirteen Tony Awards, winning four for Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Choreography and Best Orchestrations. It also won the 2009 Grammy Award for its Original Broadway Cast Album and was nominated for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in Drama.

Lin-Manuel Miranda is the Tony-winning composer-lyricist of In the Heights. He also originated the lead role of Usnavi for which he received a Tony-Award nomination for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. Lin-Manuel is currently starring in the title role in his newest musical Hamilton, which had its world premiere at The Public Theater in January 2015 before transferring to Broadway’s Richard Rodgers Theatre in July 2015. The production has so far received a record-breaking 10 Lortel Awards, 3 Outer Critic Circle Awards, 8 Drama Desk Awards, the 2015 New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best New Musical and the 2015 OBIE Award for Best New American Play.


The cast features David Bedella (The Rocky Horror Show) as Kevin, Josie Benson (Sweeney Todd) as Camila, Vas Constanti (Flashdance) as Piragua Guy, Jade Ewen (Sugababes) as Vanessa, Lily Frazer (Cats) as Nina, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt (A Chorus Line) as Daniela, Sam Mackay( as Usnavi, Antoine Murray-Straughan (Cats) as Graffiti Pete, Sarah Naudi as Carla,Eve Polycarpou (Mother Courage and Her Children) as Abuela, Joe Aaron Reid (Ghost, Broadway)as Benny and Cleve September (professional debut) as Sonny. The cast also includes Jocasta Almgill,Courtney-Mae Briggs, Michael Cortez, Gabriela Garcia, Reiss Hinds, Alexandra Sarmiento,Spin and Philippa Stefani.

In The Heights is directed by Luke Sheppard whose recent credits include Casa Valentina(Southwark Playhouse), Oliver! (Watermill Theatre), Adrian Mole (Curve Theatre), Next Fall (Southwark Playhouse), Bed And Sofa (Finborough Theatre) and Jet Set Go! (Jermyn Street Theatre). Luke is also Associate Director of Matilda in the West End and on Broadway.

It is choreographed by Drew McOnie, who won the 2015 Off West End Award for Best Choreography forIn The Heights at Southwark Playhouse. Recent credits include The Lorax (Old Vic), Hairspray (UK Tour), Bugsy Malone (Lyric Hammersmith), Oklahoma! (UK Tour), Chicago (Curve Theatre) and Drunk(Bridewell Theatre). Drew is also the Artistic Director of The McOnie Company and an Associate Artist at The Old Vic, for which he is currently creating a new dance-thriller version of Jekyll and Hyde.


Tickets start at £22.50, with a selection of best seats available for Under 25s at a special rate of £15 at every performance.

In The Heights is conceived by Lin-Manuel Miranda with Music and Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda and a Book by Quiara Alegría Hudes. It is directed by Luke Sheppard with choreography by Drew McOnie, musical supervision by Tom Deering (Made In Dagenham, From Here To Eternity), set design by takis (Chicago, Curve Theatre), costume design by Gabriella Slade (Alice in Wonderland, Oxford Playhouse), lighting design by Howard Hudson (Adrian Mole, Titanic) and sound design by Gareth Owen. Casting is by Will Burton. It is produced in London by Tristan Baker andCharlie Parsons for Runaway Entertainment Ltd and Paul Taylor Mills Ltd.


King’s Cross Theatre is a brand new purpose built theatre at King’s Cross Station. The venue is also home to The Railway Children which will play in rep with In The Heights. King’s Cross Theatre features a late night bar at performances of In The Heights, opening an hour before every performance until late, with live music and DJs after certain performances. 

Twitter @InTheHeightsLDN

Click here to view the trailer


Fiery Angel presents



RED VELVET photo Hugo Glendinning.jpg (1)The Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company has announced the full cast for Red Velvet, the third production in the inaugural Plays at the Garrick season. The production, which originally premiered at the Tricycle Theatre in 2012 before transferring to St Ann’s Warehouse in New York in 2014, will play at the Garrick Theatre from 23 January until 27 February 2016. Red Velvet is written by Lolita Chakrabarti with direction by Indhu Rubasingham and stars Adrian Lester as Ira Aldridge.

The full cast includes: Ayesha Antoine (Connie), Simon Chandler (Bernard Warde/Terence), Alexander Cobb (Henry Forrester/Casimir), Mark Edel-Hunt (Charles Kean), Emun Elliott (Pierre Laporte), Charlotte Lucas (Ellen Tree), Caroline Martin (Halina Wozniak/Margaret Aldridge) and Amy Morgan (Betty Lovell).

Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, 1833. Edmund Kean, the greatest actor of his generation, has collapsed on stage whilst playing Othello. A young black American actor has been asked to take over the role. But as the public riot in the streets over the abolition of slavery, how will the cast, critics and audience react to the revolution taking place in the theatre?

Ayesha Antoine has previously appeared on stage in A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes, The House That Will Not Stand (Tricycle), The Ghost Train (Royal Exchange), We Are Proud to Present… (Bush),Tartuffe (Birmingham Rep), Absurd Person Singular, My Wonderful Day, Surprises, (Stephen Joseph Theatre), Madblud, FamilyMan, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood (all Theatre Royal Stratford East), Big White Fog (Almeida) and The Firework Maker’s Daughter (Lyric Hammersmith). Ayesha’s television credits include appearances in Doctor Who, Holby City, Grange Hill, The Billand Skins.

Simon Chandler began his career as Private Simmonds in Richard Attenborough’s 1977 film A Bridge Too Far. He has since appeared in the films Vera Drake, Perfume: The Story of aMurderer, The King’s Speech and The Iron Lady. On stage his work includes Cause Célèbre (Old Vic), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Garrick), Democracy (Wyndham’s) and the Women, Power and Politics Season at the Tricycle.

Alexander Cobb’s theatre credits include The Seagull (Headlong), The Magistrate (National Theatre), Goodbye to All That (Royal Court), Two Gentlemen of Verona (Royal & Derngate),Wasted (Paines Plough/Latitude). Alexander has been seen on screen in Indian Summers, Ripper Street, The Mimic, Call the Midwife, Mr. Selfridge, Doctors and Parade’s End.

Mark Edel-Hunt’s previous stage appearances include When We Were Women (Orange Tree),The Late Mattia Pascal (Raw Material), Time and the Conways (Nottingham Playhouse),Cleopatra (King’s Head), The American Plan (St. James, Bath Theatre Royal), Chariots of Fire(Gielgud, Hampstead Theatre), The Importance of Being Earnest (Rose Theatre Kingston, Riverside Studios, New Wolsey) and The Syndicate (Chichester Festival Theatre). Mark’s television credits include Call the Midwife, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Kidnapped andMistresses.

Emun Elliott has previously appeared in theatrical productions such as A View From the Bridge(Young Vic), Measure for Measure (Almeida), Blackwatch (National Theatre of Scotland),Captain Oakes’ Left Sock (Royal Court) and Ubu the King (Dundee Rep). In addition to his work on stage, Emun’s television credits include The Paradise, Threesome, Labyrinth, Game of Thrones and Inspector George Gently.

Award winning actor and director Adrian Lester OBE started his career with a string of successful West End productions including Fences, Six Degrees Of Separation, As You Like It andCompany before landing the lead role in Mike Nichol’s movie Primary Colors.  Other movie credits since include The Day After Tomorrow, Maybe Baby, Born Romantic, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Dust, Final Curtain, Doomsday, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Starting Out in the Evening, As You Like It and Case 39.  Adrian is also well known for his TV work including playing ‘Mickey Bricks’ in the long running BBC1 series Hustle, with other TV credits including When Romeo Met Juliet, Merlin, Sleep with Me, Ghost Squad, Being Human, Bonekickers and the US series Red Band Society and Girlfriends.  He has appeared on stage as Henry V and Othello at the National Theatre, played Peter Brook’s Hamlet at the Bouffes Du Nord and starred in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in London’s West End.  Adrian has recently completed filming the lead role in Undercover, a new 6 part drama for BBC1 and AMC due for transmission spring 2016.

Charlotte Lucas has previously appeared on stage in The Distance (Sheffield Crucible and Orange Tree), Absence of War (Headlong), If Only (Chichester Festival Theatre), Red Velvet(Tricycle & St Ann’s Warehouse, New York), Posh (West End and Royal Court), The Changeling(Young Vic), Yes, Prime Minister (West End), Fast Labour (West Yorkshire Playhouse and Hampstead), World’s End (Trafalgar Studios), Called to Account, Darfur – How Long is Never?and Fabulation (both Tricycle). Charlotte’s television credits include Jamaica Inn, Casualty, Doctors, Midsomer Murders, The Bill, Judge John Deed and Holby City.

Caroline Martin’s stage credits includes Medea (National), A Doll’s House (West End, Brooklyn Academy of Arts), The Merchant of Venice (RSC, Almeida), Macbeth (RSC), House of Special Purpose (Chichester Festival Theatre), Othello (Cheek By Jowl – nominated for Ian Charleson Award), The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (RSC). Caroline has appeared in television shows such as 5 Days (BBC/HBO), Foyles War (Greenlit Rights), He Knew He was Right (BBC), Byron(BBC), Inspector Lynley Mysteries (BBC), Poirot (Granada). Caroline has also appeared in Mike Leigh’s Happy-go-lucky.

Amy Morgan’s previous stage credits include The Beaux Stratagem (National Theatre), The Broken Heart (The Globe), An Ideal Husband (Chichester Festival Theatre), Once A Catholic(Royal Court Liverpool and Tricycle), Trelawny of the Wells (Donmar Warehouse), The Country Wife (Royal Exchange), Hay Fever (West End), Inadmissible Evidence (Donmar Warehouse), The Taming of the Shrew, To Kill A Mockingbird (Theatr Clwyd), Deepcut (Sherman Cymru) and 24 Hours Plays (Old Vic). Amy has previously appeared on television in Mr Selfridge, Father Brownand The Royal.

Lolita Chakrabarti is an award-winning playwright and actress. Red Velvet earned her the Charles Wintour Evening Standard Award and the Critics Circle Award in 2012 after it opened at the Tricycle Theatre. Lolita’s previous stage credits include Last Seen – Joy (Almeida Theatre).  Lolita trained as an actress at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and has carved out an innovative, long running career. Her work as an actress for the past twenty five years spans both stage and screen. She has appeared in a string of recent television dramas including J K Rowling’s A Casual VacancyJekyll and Hyde, My Mad Fat Diary 3.  January will also see Lolita as blacksmith Lila in the epic new ITV drama Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands.

Indhu Rubasingham has been the Artistic Director of the Tricycle Theatre since 2012. Productions as Artistic Director include: Red Velvet (Evening Standard Award and Critics’ Circle Award), A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes, Multitudes, The House That Will Not Stand, Handbagged(Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre, West End transfer 2014, UK tour 2015) and Paper Dolls. Indhu also recently directed The Motherf**cker with the Hat(National Theatre) which was awarded Best Play at the 2015 Evening Standard Theatre Awards.

The Winter’s Tale, Harlequinade / All On Her Own, Red Velvet, The Painkiller, Romeo and Juliet and The Entertainer make up the inaugural seven play season of work for the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company.

The Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company, in partnership with Picturehouse Entertainment, will broadcast three productions of its year-long Plays at the Garrick season live to cinemas worldwide. Romeo and Juliet will be broadcast live on 7 July. Participating cinemas can be found at


The World Premiere of Edward Bond’s Dea to be at Sutton Theatres in May/June 2016

Sutton Theatres presents:

World Premiere
24 May – 11 June 2016

“To be sane or not to be sane, that is the question. If not, everything that follows.”

Drawing inspiration from Greek mythology and Jacobean tragedies, the new play by Edward Bond pictures vividly the collapse of our society.

Edward Bond is widely regarded as the UK’s greatest and most influential playwright. He is the author of some fifty plays, among them Saved (1965), the production of which was instrumental in the abolition of theatre censorship in the UK.

His other plays include The Pope’s Wedding (Royal Court Theatre, 1962), Early Morning (Royal Court, 1968), Lear (Royal Court, 1971), The Sea (Royal Court, 1973), The Fool (Royal Court, 1975), The Woman (National Theatre, 1978), Restoration (Royal Court, 1981) and The War Plays (RSC at the Barbican Pit, 1985). To this date, his plays have been produced in more than 60 countries. He has formed particular relationships with French theatre (which led to THE PARIS PENTAD) and the Birmingham Theatre Company, Big Brum, for whom he has written ten plays.

Director of Sutton Theatres Beri Juraic says: “Edward was one of the key people who supported us in saving theatres in Sutton and at the end of our first year here, we are very pleased to be presenting the world premiere of his new play. When I first read Dea, I immediately knew it is one of those rare plays which describe our society so vividly. It is that sense of urgency which is the backbone of our artistic programming.”

Hitler enters the Big Brother House at the King’s Head this January

Bitter Pill Theatre presents:

“Will Adolf come to the Diary Room please…”
14 January – 30 January 2016

Bitter Pill Theatre present their Edinburgh hit Big Brother Blitzkrieg at the King’s Head Theatre, which sees Adolf Hitler enter the Big Brother House.

“a head-turning premise (…) clever nods to history” Entertainmentwise

After a botched suicide attempt, Adolf Hitler awakes to find himself in the Big Brother House. Confused by his situation and surrounded by some of the most loathsome individuals he’s ever met, he struggles to come to terms with the world of reality television.

Join Adolf on the journey of a lifetime as he makes friends, faces demons and finds his true voice. But will he win over the hearts and minds of the viewers in the process?

“hilarious and disturbing by turns, the writing is tight, the performances on point and the climax genuinely chilling” Artwhacked

Writers and directors Hew Rous Eyre & Max Elton say “Big Brother Blitzkrieg is a response to anti-politics and celebrity worship. Considering relative extremists like Donald Trump and his successful penetration of the political mainstream, perhaps we’ve not advanced as much as we think we have. We live in an era of fame, hashtags and Boris Johnson so let’s not get complacent.”

Watch Adolf in the Diary Room:

Join the conversation on Twitter: #BigBrotherBlitzkrieg #HitlerInLondon

After a bombastic, exciting and innovative 45th year, the King’s Head continues its new artistic policy of being a crucible of new writing and critical rediscoveries, whilst also welcoming the much-anticipated return of pub opera, with the aim of being the best pub theatre in London. The King’s Head offers an unashamedly broad church of programming including theatre, musical theatre and opera, transfers to and from the biggest arts festivals in the world, and a trail-blazing policy of ethical employment on the fringe – if it’s on here, you won’t see it anywhere else.

Scarborough Review

Cockpit Theatre 5 & 6 December.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

The 2007 Fringe First Award-winning Scarborough is unfortunately very much like the relationships it portrays – shallow and unmemorable.

Lauren and Daz are spending Daz’s birthday weekend on a romantic break in Scarborough. It’s Daz’s 16th birthday, Lauren is his (almost) 30 year old PE teacher. It is unclear who is the teenager and who is the adult at first, until Lauren tries to end the relationship and Daz becomes more childlike as he struggles to cope.

The second act is a word for word replay of the first, with the genders swapped. Aiden is the PE teacher in a relationship with pupil Beth. This idea has great potential, but the writing is just not good enough to sustain the audience’s interest for a second time. Presenting the play in the round only serves to emphasise this – the underwhelmed faces of some audience members were a little distracting.

Fiona Evans has written the play from a neutral viewpoint. The adults are not portrayed as predatory, but any person who justifies beginning a relationship with a child with the words “you made the first move” should be forced to wear the Childcatcher’s outfit in public. Evans obviously doesn’t want to colour the audiences opinions about the characters, but this neutrality results in bland, one dimensional, forgettable characters with clichéd motivations. The adults were in underage relationships with teachers themselves, and are insipid and needy, lacking the emotional intelligence and maturity to ever attract people their own age, while the children are from unhappy homes with a drunken, philandering father, and are looking for love and stability in all the wrong places. It reads like some cheesy American TV movie.

With bolder writing and characterisation this play could have something important to say – as it is, it is sadly lacking. With all the recent scandal about certain judges giving lenient sentences to female teachers and carers, the issue of the abuser’s gender could have been explored with much more finesse, but Scarborough adds nothing to the debate.

Ava Pickett and Charlie Tantam do their best with the script and the limited characters, and are equally convincing as teenagers and adults, delivering some very sweet moments – usually in dialogue free sections. Let’s just say that the most memorable line of the play is actually a quote from “Mystic Pizza”.

There are a few nice touches to highlight the gender differences. Daz give his teacher a topless photo of himself, while Beth’s teacher receives a photo of her in school uniform. As the adults disengage from the children Lauren is constantly moving towards Daz to comfort him, while Aiden does his best to keep the bed between him and Beth at all times, never touching her. But still – nothing profound or worthwhile comes from sitting through the second act.

Paraphrasing one of my old school reports – Scarborough had great potential, but ultimately turned into a no-hoper.

Now that’s how a proper teacher communicates with teenagers!


Darlington Civic Theatre – New Year in Vienna


The London Gala Orchestra and special guests welcome in the New Year in style on Monday 4 January at Darlington Civic Theatre.

A very special event will take place at Darlington Civic Theatre on Monday 4 January 2016. It marks the twenty fifth year of New Year’s Day music making by the London Gala Orchestra.

The orchestra’s stunning New Year show has become an integral part of thousands of people’s annual celebrations across the country but it started almost by accident.

Twenty five years ago, the orchestra’s manager, Wilf Goddard, suggested to a promoter that Viennese music, reflecting all the glamour and romance of the annual New Year’s Day Ball in Vienna, would be good for the start of the year. This proved to be so and it wasn’t long before he was organising the concerts himself, developing them into a musical experience that audiences have returned to again and again.

This year’s concert will be no exception. Packed full of traditional classics by the Strauss family you will experience the Austrian love affair with music – romantic waltzes, passionate songs, toe tapping polkas and feel-good tunes. The compere this year will be tenor Andrew Rees who will be joined by glamorous soprano Natasha Day. Stephen Ellery, who made such an impact last year with his debut appearance, will take the helm as music director.

Throw in special effects, lots of fun, laughter and excitement as well and you will take away memories that will last a lifetime. It’s where your fabulous 2016 begins!

New Year In Vienna is at Darlington Civic Theatre on Monday 4 January, 7.30pm Tickets* £20 & £22

To book contact the Box Office on 01325 486 555 or visit

*Includes a £1 restoration levy

Cinderella Review

Cinderella – Civic Theatre, Darlington

Posted by: The Reviews Hub – Yorkshire & North East


Producer: Michael Harrison

Director: Andrew Ryan


There’s nothing quite like a good pantomime to get you in the festive mood (oh yes there is!) and with a great big dollop of comedy, a smattering of tunes and a sprinkling of fairy dust you’ve got all the ingredients for a successful show.

Ashleigh and Pudsey lead the show, and though Ashleigh can’t quite belt out the tunes as a leading lady should – or as well as her Fairy Godmother co-star Niki Evans, rather unsurprisingly given her X Factor experience – her perfected dance routines with Pudsey more than makes up for any lack of vocal power. Pudsey didn’t let himself down once, performing the adorable, but an undoubtedly clever act that won Britain’s Got Talent with his trainer and dance partner Ashleigh.

The Ugly Sisters Mel (Phil Corbitt) and Sue (Danny Potts) were wonderfully over the top, in their garish costumes and outlandish make-up. Alastair Hill was Charming and funny in the fight scene during Everything I Do.

The star of the show is undoubtedly Matt Edwards who plays the lovable but dopey Buttons. With his squeaky voice, he has the audience in the palm of his hands from the moment he steps on stage and has the audience in stitches with his silly and simple performance. He worked well with Brendan Sheerin’s Baron Hardup, and the 12 Days of Christmas routine with the ugly sisters was ridiculously funny.

The first half covers most of the key traditional elements and introduces poor downtrodden Cinders, the cruel, spectacularly attired Ugly Sisters, the handsome prince, the nice but dim Buttons – and The Fairy God Mother. In the second act, we are treated to Dooby Duck and friends and his spectacular marionette cabaret.

It’s a simple tale of good versus evil and this with its abundance of visual gags and slapstick makes it a winner, whether you are three or 93. And a truly spectacular flying horse makes this a very magical pantomime indeed.

Like all good pantos, Cinderella has a happy ending with redemption added for good measure. Along with its easy going inclusion, this production has all the ingredients needed for a great time out with family and friends of all ages.

Cinderella Review

Civic Theatre, Darlington – 5 December 2015 – 10 January 2016

There’s nothing quite like a good panto to get you in the festive mood (oh no there isn’t) and with a great big dollop of comedy, a smattering of tunes and a sprinkling of fairy dust you’ve got all the ingredients for a successful show.

Darlington Cinderella Ashleigh & PudseyAsleigh and Pudsey lead the show, and though Ashleigh can’t quite belt out the tunes as a leading lady should – or as well as her Fairy Godmothers co-star Niki Evans, rather unsurprisingly given her X Factor experience – her perfected dance routines with Pudsey more than make up for any lack of vocal power. Pudsey didn’t let himself down once, performing the adorable but undoubtedly clever act that won Britain’s Got Talent with his trainer and dance partner AshleighDarlington Cinderella Fairy

The Ugly Sisters Mel (Phil Corbitt) and Sue (Danny Potts) were wonderfully over the top, in their garish costumes and outlandish make-up. Alastair Hill was Charming as the Prince and genuinely funny in the fight scene Darlington Cinderella - Sistersduring Everything I Do.

The star of the show is undoubtedly Matt Edwards who plays the lovable but dopey Buttons. With his squeaky voice he has the audience in the palm of his hands from the moment he steps on stage and has the audience in stitches with his silly and simple performance. Darlington Cinderella Buttons (1)He worked well with Brendan Sheerin’s Baron Hardup and the 12 Days of Christmas routine with Mel and Sue the ugly sisters was ridiculously funny.  A very special mention must go out to the lady who caught the five toilet rolls and admirably threw them back

Darlington Cinderella BrendanThe show had magic and laughs for the children and innuendo for the adults.  Lots of audience participation and “Oh yes it is” “Oh no it isn’t” shout backs.  The ensemble dancers and the babes of Joanne Banks Dancers were talented and helped to move the plot forward and during the transformation scenes.  Less emphasis was put on the carriage transformation and more on the change from rags to riches in the ball gown – a very clever change.  However the spectacular and beautiful flying Pegasus to take Cinderella to the ball was absolute perfection

The first half covers most of the key traditional elements and introduces poor downtrodden Cinders, the cruel, spectacularly attired Ugly Sisters, the handsome prince, the nice but dim Buttons – and The Fairy ‘God Mother. In the second half we are treated to Dooby Duck and friends and his spectacular marionette cabaret.

It’s a simple tale of good versus evil and this with its abundance of visual gags and slapstick makes it a winner, whether you are three or 93. 

Like all good pantos, Cinderella has a happy ending.  This production has all the ingredients needed for a great time out with family and friends of all ages

Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood Review

City Varieties Music Hall, Leeds – 5 December 2015

Delightfully cheesy, wonderfully camp and totally over the top – just how a good pantomime should be.   Full of family fun with just the right amount of adult humour to keep it on the right side of clean.

Written by Peter Rowe this rock”n”roll panto was full of tenuous song links, musical led by Tristan Parkes.

The cast were all multi talented singing, acting and playing a variety of musical instruments. Stand out performance definitely belonging to Louisa Beadel and her stunning drumming to Meatloaf.

With a stunning cast all seemingly enjoying themselves it made the performance more enjoyable. Eamon Fleming was Nanny Nellie Night nurse a rather restrained panto dame, with an interesting taste in clothes.  Peter Manchester’s Robin and Liz Singletons Marian were good together, whilst Robin was channeling his inner Lord Flasheart Marian was fiesty and brave.

Darrell Brockis’ Sheriff was dastardly indeed but his henchmen Kenny Davies “Numbskull” and Alexander Bean “Portcullis” were lovable in their buffoonery.

With the raining cast made up of Matthew Burns, Mike Slader, Louisa Beadel and Sophie Byrne, this is a modern slant on the traditional that works incredibly well.

A simple show, sticking to the story, this is what Christmas and panto should be about.

On at the outstandingly beautiful City Varieties until 10 January, it is truly worth the trip to see Pantomime has it should be