REVIEW: Norwich panto is a real festive box of delights for all the family

Richard Gauntlett as Fairy Godmother, Joe Tracini as Buttons, David Witts as Prince Charming and Kar

Richard Gauntlett as Fairy Godmother, Joe Tracini as Buttons, David Witts as Prince Charming and Kara-Liane Jones as Cinderella in the Theatre Royal panto Credit: @richardjarmy - www.richardjarmy.co.uk - Credit: Archant

Just like Mariah Carey, Wizzard, a baby in a manger, turkey and tinsel, the Norwich Theatre Royal Panto is a sure sign that Christmas is on its way.

Kara-Lianne Jones as Cinderella and the the Panto Babes Credit: @richardjarmy - www.richardjarmy.co.

Kara-Lianne Jones as Cinderella and the the Panto Babes Credit: @richardjarmy - www.richardjarmy.co.uk - Credit: Archant

Yes, it is the season of good will to all and with the big day almost upon us there was a warm, cosy glow around all who came to watch this year's panto Cinderella.

The great news for all those yet to see it is that it is a cracker rather than a turkey of a production with a feast of festive treats packed into the feel good show.

Cinderella (Kara-Lianne Jones) and Prince Charming (David Witts) were, well charming, as the love-struck young couple who will live happily ever after come the end of the show.

Joining them on stage was the entertaining sister act - Alexa (Amanda Henderson) and Siri (Alix Dunmore) - who were good, bad and indeed ugly, as Cinders' sisters.

Joe Tracini as Buttons and the Panto Babes Credit: @richardjarmy - www.richardjarmy.co.uk

Joe Tracini as Buttons and the Panto Babes Credit: @richardjarmy - www.richardjarmy.co.uk - Credit: Archant


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But just as every Christmas tree has a star, so too does most productions and in this one it was undoubtedly Buttons (Joe Tracini).

I will be honest. I had thought replacing the brilliant Ben Langley - who has appeared in the city's annual panto for the past few years - would be a nigh on impossible task but in Tracini theatre bosses have struck upon comedy gold.

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And rather than falter in the wake of Langley's omission he shone like The North Star and stole the show with his own madcap comedy style.

Indeed he proved the perfect comic accompaniment to the wonderful Richard Gauntlett's Fairy Godmother who once again was the comedy cog that kept this show moving.

Alix Dunmore as Siri and Amanda Henderson as Alexa in Cinderella at Norwich Theatre Royal Credit: @r

Alix Dunmore as Siri and Amanda Henderson as Alexa in Cinderella at Norwich Theatre Royal Credit: @richardjarmy - www.richardjarmy.co.uk - Credit: Archant

Add to that the appearance of Norwich City legend Grant Holt who delivered a surprise turn as a postman, the wonderful youngsters from the Central School of dance, beautiful staging, some rain and even a flying horse and you have a festive box of delights for all the family.

You would have to be an absolute Scrooge to miss it, 'Oh no you wouldn't, Oh yes you would!"

And if you do not believe me, then here is what my three children thought.

Freya, 11, said it was "colourful", while Bonnie, seven, said it was "hilarious" and Gretel, four, said she "liked all of it".

So there you have it, a Christmas cracker that is a treat for everyone.

Cinderella runs at Norwich Theatre Royal until January 19.

For tickets call the box office on 01603 630000.

PETER WALSH

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