Panto star helps to bring story of Cinderella to life at library

Dandini (Jack Richardson) reads Cinderella to children at the children's library at the Forum. Picture: Denise Bradley Dandini (Jack Richardson) reads Cinderella to children at the children's library at the Forum. Picture: Denise Bradley

Sunday, January 5, 2014
11:32 AM

Young panto lovers in Norwich were treated to their very own Cinderella story when a star from the show dropped in to entertain with a reading.

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Jack Richardson, better known as Prince Charming’s loyal valet Dandini in this year’s Norwich Theatre Royal pantomime, took a break from rehearsals to read a story in Norwich Children’s Library at the Forum.

The interactive telling of Cinderella captured the imaginations of dozens of children as they shouted out answers to Dandini’s animated questions throughout the story.

Mr Richardson, 25, is starring in Norwich’s panto for the first time. He said: “Reading to the children was great fun, it’s a lot more interactive – much like the theatre I am used to. With children, it’s not just a performance. You can’t just perform to kids, you have to engage them and drop in a bit of excitement.”

Mr Richardson, who grew up in Norwich and is now based in Birmingham, was asked to appear in the show just days before its opening when Michelle Pentecost dropped out after being offered a role in West End show, Evita.

Six-year-old Yohan Saravanamutto, of Poppy Close, Norwich, was just one of the youngsters who enjoyed the story reading. He said: “He asked lots of questions and showed us all of the pictures. I liked it when Dandini made a ‘gong’ sound when it turned midnight in the story.”

Mother-of-two Emma Wheeler, 40, of Sprowston Road, Norwich, was passing the library when she saw the crowd gathering. She said: “It was great, it’s the first time we have seen anyone from the panto come over. Dandini was really friendly and dropped in a few jokes for the parents as well.”

It’s not the first time the Theatre Royal has arranged for a star to entertain children at the library. Last year, youngsters were dazzled with stories of Aladdin.

John Bultitude, of Norwich Theatre Royal, said: “The festive storytelling is an exciting and educational morning for the children who attend and it’s wonderful that the Norwich Children’s Library offers us the chance to allow children to experience the magic of reading and storytelling through our pantomime.”

Cinderella runs until January 19. Call the box office on 01603 630000 or visit www,theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

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