The fairest panto of them all, Matt Lapinskas leads cast of Cinderella in King’s Lynn
- Credit: Archant
It is perhaps the best loved pantomime of them all. This year Cinderella is entertaining families in King's Lynn with a cast featuring new names and familiar faces.
Who will the shoe fit? Marge? Flora? Buttons? Find out if Cinderella's dreams will come true and she gets to go to the Ball at King's Lynn's panto.
West Norfolk's biggest and best family festive show brings the classic fairytale to King's Lynn Corn Exchange for the best loved pantomime of them all, brought to you by the team behind last year's critically acclaimed Robin Hood.
Left at home by the ugliest of sisters, Cinders can not go to the ball. However, with help from her magical Fairy Godmother and brilliant buffoonery from Buttons, the most exciting night of her life is about to begin....
With all the ingredients of a perfect panto, don't miss this timeless tale of laughter, magic and true love!
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Now in its seventh year, the annual festive show has grown to attract audiences of around 20,000 - and earned a reputation among performers for how enthusiastically theatre-goers young and old embrace all the old gags.
Matt Lapinskas, best known for playing Anthony Moon in EastEnders, leads the cast of this year's show in the role of Prince Charming.
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Returning for his seventh year this year playing Ugly Sister Marjorie Hardup is Ian Marr. He also directs the panto, and one of the traditional delights of any Corn Exchange panto is seeing his increasingly outrageous array of panto dame outfits.
He said: 'I'm very pleased to be back. We try to bring something new to the show every year. I love it. Seven years ago there was not a panto here at all, and we've built up a very loyal following in that time. Hopefully, it's become part of everyone's Christmas, as it has mine. I treat every show as if the audience has not seen it. You have to give 120%.
'We've got quite a short rehearsal period, but we will kick it into shape. I love the town, I love the theatre. Why would I want to go anywhere else?'
He joined by Steven Kynman, loved by little ones throughout Britain as Robert the Robot in the Bafta award winning CBeebies' series Justin's House and by their parents as the acerbic Mojo and others in the series Yonderland for Sky 1.
Listen closely too and see if you recognise his voice – the voice of Fireman Sam and Naughty Norman and a number of diesels and steamies on Thomas The Tank Engine.
This year he is the second Ugly Sister – Floribunda Hardup, back after playing Will Scarlett last year's production of Robin Hood. That was his first time in King's Lynn, and he added: 'It's such a sweet little town. I'm from Beverley in Yorkshire, and I felt very comfortable and right at home straight away.'
For musical theatre student Melissa Jane, who plays Cinderella, the panto will be her first chance to sample the limelight. Making her pantomime debut and we are delighted she is coming to the Corn Exchange for this adventure.
'I graduate in November so this was one of my first auditions,' she said. 'I'm really happy to be doing it, especially at Christmas.'
Scott Cripps returns to the role of Buttons, direct from the West End. Another performer making his panto debut is Posh Charles from KLFM playing the cameo role as the Brokers Man, will he be a friend or foe to Cinderella?
EastEnders and Dancing on Ice Star
After training at the Italia Conti theatre school and appearing in the 2007 British comedy film I Want Candy, Matt Lapinskas made his mark on TV playing the quick-witted Anthony Moon on EastEnders in 2011. He left the soap in August 2012 and then threw himself into training for Dancing on Ice in 2013 when he was runner-up to Olympic bronze medallist Beth Tweddle.
More recently he has toured e the country with Bill Kenwright's production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat playing the Pharoah.
Between performances wooing Cinderella as Prince Charming he said he was also looking forward to seeing some of the medieval architecture in the old town a stone's throw from the venue - along with some audience reaction to his fourth panto appearance.
'Telly is great, but when you're doing it in front of the cameras you don't see the millions watching at home staring back at you,' he said.
Among audiences packing out the venue will be coach parties from schools from Lynn and as far afield as deepest Norfolk and Lincoln.
Simon McKenna, chief executive of Alive Leisure, which runs the Corn Exchange, said: 'The kids are absolutely bouncing, they love it.
'I don't think people always understand the quality of shows we put on. People don't always appreciate what's on their doorstep.'
Cinderella is a favourite panto and this colourful extravaganza does it full justice, packed with song and dance, comedy, superb costumes and dazzling special effects.
Corn Exchange's director of culture and communication Nina McKenna said: 'Cinderella is a true panto classic, and one of my personal favourites. We are all very excited and couldn't wait for the show to open. We are hoping for a record breaking year, so if you haven't got your ticket, you had better be quick!'
Advance sales were ahead of 2015, which was a record year when more than 21,000 came to see the panto.
All the best traditions of pantomime are gift-wrapped in a fun-filled family show and what better recommendation than the large advance bookings already made for next year's production!
• Cinderella, King's Lynn Corn Exchange, until December 31, various times, £20-£14 (£19 cons), family discounts, 01553 764864, www.kingslynncornexchange.co.uk