Nottingham Playhouse – until Saturday 13th January 2024
Reviewed by Jill Heslop
Oh yes it is…it’s that time of year again when Nottingham Playhouse hosts the pantomime. This year it’s the magic of Cinderella, with John Elkington appearing in his 25th panto, as Rose one of Cinderella’s two step-sisters, bringing lots of laughs once more.
The festival of delights begins with a lively and energetic Danny Hendrix playing Buttons, welcoming the audience and getting them to practise their shout outs. Soon, we are introduced to all the cast at the circus, appropriately singing It’s A Kind of Magic. We watch in awe at the amazing costumes as we see unfurling on stage a colourful carnival of chaos and comedy with dancers and acrobats.
There are lovely duos playing opposite each other and enjoying the banter: the Prince, Liam Marcellino and Dandini, Georgia-Mae Price; Cinderella, Jewelle Hutchinson and Buttons, Danny Hendrix; the two step-sisters, Rose, John Elkington and Violet, Tom Hopcroft. Out on her own but doubling up as the Fairy Godmother and Her Ladyship is Alice Redmond, relishing the boos and hisses the audience provide on her every entrance as Her Ladyship. Powerful individual singing by Alice Redmond is impressive throughout the show.
The two step-sisters Rose (John Elkington) and Violet (Tom Hopcroft) have some fun scenes and many different fabulous, bright costumes guaranteed to bring on the “oooohs” and “aaaahs” from the audience. A bit of literal slap-stick in the dining room of Hard-Up Hall has us all rolling with laughter as the sisters try their hand at a spot of ‘decorating’ with the ‘help’ of Buttons (Danny Hendrix). Comic timings are perfect as buckets have holes in, feet end up in buckets and doorknobs come off!
Cinderella (Jewelle Hutchinson) has a terrible life in the kitchen of Hard-Up Hall, but she has the chance to enjoy a pleasant walk in the woods to collect firewood and sing to all her furry friends of the forest. Somewhere Over the Rainbow goes down well, beautifully sung by Jewelle Hutchinson, and sparks the entrance of the Fairy Godmother, Alice Redmond, who waves her magic wand and produces the most spectacular and magical part of the whole show to end the first Act.
The Palace Ballroom provides some more well- choreographed comic moves by the cast in this delightful production. An abundance of audience participation and singing along round off the show with a bang, with John Elkington and Danny Hendrix managing the live participation wonderfully well.
So get yourself down to the Playhouse to join in with the excitement of pantomime pandemonium to kick off your festive fun for all the family!