Apparently Staffordshire University is offering the world’s first pantomime degree. If anyone really needs to discover how a successful pantomime should be then the current production of Cinderella running at the Darlington Hippodrome is a masterclass in what makes the perfect panto: a good script, a wealth of talent, beautiful costumes and scenery along with great one liners.
With songs from BTS, Bryan Adams, Pink and Gloria Gaynor and local references to Billingham, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough and of course, Darlington, the two hour show is an hilarious antidote from the challenges of the last eighteen months.
Faye Tozer from Steps is the leading cast member as Fairy Godmother. Although she is not on stage as long as some of the other characters, whenever she appeared she brightened up the stage with her charm and magic.
Patrick Monahan as Buttons has one of the biggest roles and instantly build a rapport with the audience as soon as appears on stage, magically appearing from out of a stack of empty boxes! His “Don’t touch the box” routine has the younger members of the audience calling out his name whenever anyone else in the cast tried to open the box whilst some of his more risqué jokes were aimed at the mums and dads in the theatre.
Peter Peverley and Phil Corbitt as the Ugly Sisters complete with Geordie accents – Hernia and Verruca were excellent with costumes that were brighter than the colours of the rainbow.
Tanisha Butterfield plays the innocent Cinderella with Prince Charming being played with ease by Jacob Leeson. There was a chemistry between the two actors that worked well when they sang a duet.
Spin was as cool as a cucumber in his portrayal as Dandini although I do not recall the character being able to dance so eloquently as Spin.
No matter how many times you have seen the 12 Days of Christmas and the Trunk of Truth routines they both remain funny and engaging.
As Cinderella prepared to be taken to the Ball and two ponies and a carriage arrive, the youngster next to me nearly fell out of his seat with excitement.
With the finale of the big wedding the panto ended on a high as Tozer along with the rest of the cast sing a three song medley of Steps songs ending with Tragedy – though the show is anything but as it is a joyful and entertaining blast of pure fun and entertainment.
Runs until Friday 31st December 2021
Box Office: 01325 405405