Review: Cinderella, Oyesitis Productions, Gorleston Pavilion

Thomas Howes and Des Barrit as the Ugly Sisters in Cinderella at Gorleston Pavilion Theatre. Photo:

Thomas Howes and Des Barrit as the Ugly Sisters in Cinderella at Gorleston Pavilion Theatre. Photo: Des Barrit - Credit: Des Barrit

Tony Mallion enjoys the latest panto from Desmond Barrit at Gorleston Pavilion Theatre.

Pantomime and Gorleston Pavilion are made for each other. With storybook sets Cinderella fits perfectly on the stage of this Edwardian gem. From the moment it opens with a novel musical box overture you know you are in for a good time.

For the eleventh year Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre actor Desmond Barrit comes straight from the West End to produce, write, direct and take a leading role showing great dedication to this seaside venue. The age difference between Barrit as Germolena and former Downton Abbey actor Thomas Howes as Valderma makes the idea of being sisters, ugly or otherwise, somewhat unconvincing. But hey, this is pantoland and the jokes and outrageous frocks, including one designed as a complete Christmas tree, more than compensate.

Throughout the costumes by Mike Friend are a picture as is the scenery from Colin Dyer which gives a spectacular transformation to end the first half and ballroom setting to open the second. The ten young dancers (choreographer Jayne King) constantly bring lively production numbers. Sheila Pascall is good as fairy godmother though she might have appeared a little more often and to have two blokes Zac Worrall and Matthew Siveter as Prince Charming and his servant Dandini is a welcome change from thigh-slapping females.

Steven Fawell is the dependable and affable Buttons but the real star is Laura Roome making her professional debut at 21 in the title role lighting up the stage with bright personality and beautiful voice. Terry Boast completes the cast. As always, a Des Barrit production sets a cracking pace, keeps to the story line and never goes on for too long. The second half gathers both speed and audience participation with children especially loving the traditional slapstick and 'it's behind you' ghost appearance which are well delivered.

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From the London Palladium to Gorleston Pavilion pantomime with all its absurdity has never been more popular providing fun for the family and quite possibly (as it did for me 60 years ago) introducing youngsters to a lifetime of theatre-going. Long may examples like Cinderella continue.

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