Review: Cinderella, Princess Theatre, Hunstanton

Cinderella: Andy Eastwood (Buttons), with Helen Farrell as Cinderella, plus Ugly Sisters Elise and S

Cinderella: Andy Eastwood (Buttons), with Helen Farrell as Cinderella, plus Ugly Sisters Elise and Seren Whyte, part of the cast of Hunstanton Princess Theatre's 2017 panto. Picture: Princess Theatre - Credit: Archant

Margaret Freer Scholfield enjoys the traditional panto (with a twist) Cinderella, at the Princess Theatre, Hunstanton.

The Princess Theatre has excelled with another imaginative Tony Peers production, Cinderella. This is probably the best-loved pantomime of all time, so it's important to ensure that it lives up to the audience's high expectations. There are no big names but each member of the cast acts their socks off.

The Princess Theatre prefers not to cast a female principal boy or male ugly sisters, as the original story is more authentically portrayed in this way.

Simon Hollosi (last year's Jack, in Jack and the Beanstalk) plays Prince Charming, a role that suits him perfectly. Every word is clearly spoken, and he has a singing voice to match.

Adam Tremlett, a newcomer to the Princess, plays Dandini. He makes a good foil to Prince Charming.

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Melvyn Francis makes a welcome return, this time as the bumbling Baron Hardup.

Multi instrumentalist Andy Eastwood is Buttons, even better than his performance last year as Aladdin's Wishy Washy. The scenes with the Whyte sisters, Seren and Elise (the Ugly Sisters) demonstrate the trio's faultless comedy timing. In this version they play the Ugly Sisters as eccentric rather than ugly.

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Hannah Bird is the Fairy Godmother. This is her first time at the Princess but I'm sure it won't be her last. Her duet 'When You Believe' with Cinderella is hauntingly beautiful.

Last but not least, Helen Farrell plays the starring role of Cinderella. Apart from looking just as I imagine Cinderella to be, she too has a lovely singing voice. Helen has some great scenes with Buttons, especially 'the Why dance'.

This is a magical pantomime, with the audience entranced from curtain-up until the grand finale. The special effects at the end of the first half are guaranteed to leave you with a tear in your eye and a lump in your throat.

This is how family pantomime should be: full of comedy, laughter, colourful costumes, music, dancing, stunning backdrops, and with the bonus of Tommy Rollason who is very talented young juggler. Congratulations, too, to the brilliant Rollason dance school whose children smile throughout the performance.

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