Cinderella Wimbledon Theatre
You can find few things more cheering on a bitter December night than a panto, and there are few London theatres that toss as much at their annual tv show given that brand new Wimbledon. In recent years the theatre has earned a formidable reputation by way of manager Ian Talbot (in charge of a year ago's Aladdin and 2012's snow-white - both great hits) along side its continuous stream of accomplished star turns, from Priscilla Presley to Jo Brand.
In 2010 Linda Gray – best known as alcohol trophy partner Sue Ellen Ewing in cult TV show Dallas – plays the Fairy Godmother. After a tickling video clip spoof for the programme’s opening credits, set around Wimbledon, Gray is uncovered in an on-stage bath filled with spangly curtain (the initial of several satisfying sources for Dallas followers), swigging from a bejewelled hip flask. But regardless of the undeniable Texan allure and some cracking asides (“If this does not get myself part in Downton, we don’t understand what will”), the woman overall performance is shaky – she struggles because of the rhyming parts of the woman speeches and it is instead too tentative with Wimbledon’s game audience.
Thankfully she's buoyed up because of the remaining cast and Talbot’s comprehensive way of household fun. The wonderful chorus opens the show with an uplifting rendition of Pharrell Williams’s Happy (Hackney Empire therefore the Lyric Hammersmith are also applying this track in their pantomimes this year) before we satisfy Cinderella (Amy Lennox) who shuns sickly-sweet heroine in preference of likeable girl next-door.
Providing the obligatory two fold entendres tend to be Matthew Kelly along with his real-life child Matthew Rixon since the ugly siblings. Called after X-Factor judges Cheryl and Mel B, they have been by turns splendidly vapid and gleefully obnoxious, perhaps not the very least once they follow the grating dialogue of the movie stars associated with the best way is Essex (“OMG, like, totes!”).
Comedian Tim Vine can also be superb as Buttons. An all natural because of the market and a cracking singer, he masterfully leads the show’s many quick-fire comedy scenes – top concerning a dizzying rally of chocolate-related puns (“you’re up to your normal Twix”). Tech-savvy young ones may also enjoy him in a spooky “it’s behind you” scene, that is provided a spine-tingling 3D perspective.
You will find, however, weaknesses. A number of the tracks feel crow-barred in to the story, previous dancing star Wayne Sleep’s constant pirouetting as Dandini wears thin, while the cast are however to relax into ad-libbing and banter, which may enhance a script that even by pantomime standards includes one way too many obvious gags. Nonetheless it’s difficult to feel also cross about this in among all enjoyable. If the snow machine starts up and Shetland ponies trot out with Cinderella’s carriage, I defy anyone to feel not as much as thoroughly festive.