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Pantomime Review: Cinderella - New Wimbledon Theatre ✭✭✭✭

Cinderella

New Wimbledon Threatre

10th December 2014 - Well, it's that time of year again, where we trundle along to the theatre and shout out at the tops of our voices 'It's Behind You' and are taken off on a whirlwind adventure for a couple of hours. New Wimbledon Theatre is well known for pulling off a good panto... and this year is no different.

Linda Gray as Fairy Godmother
Photo by Craig Sugden
Making her panto debut this year is Linda Gray, best known for portraying Sue Ellen in hit TV show Dallas. As with all previous US stars who have treaded the Wimbledon boards, it looks like she hasn't got a clue what's going on on stage - just like the rest of us really - but she gives it a go and pulls off the part of Fairy Godmother with ease... hoping her rhyming couplets might get her a part in Downton, the audience like her and she does get a lot of time on stage.

The casting of Cinderella this year works incredibly well. Amy Lennox delivers the role nicely, and her vocals match the sparkly dress of the transformation scene. Liam Doyle's Prince Charming also plays well throughout. With an uncanny resemblance to Ricky Gervais, James Doherty as Baron Hardup plays Cinderella's father very well indeed.

Amy Lennox (c) as Cinderella
Photo by Craig Sugden
Playing the Ugly Sisters, there is a genius piece of casting in Matthew Kelly and Matthew Rixon. Father and son in real life, they have the banter and the costumes of a fantastic double act - you just love to hate them, but can't help but love them. And what pantomime wouldn't be without a razzle dazzle dancer to keep the mood in full swing? Step forward the one and only Wayne Sleep, whose energy bounds the stage, especially when he is 'Putting on the Ritz' at the top of Act Two.

For me, Panto is about laughter, and boy did I laugh a lot. This was due to Buttons - Tim Vine! What an absolute pleasure to see Tim on stage in this role adding his unique charm, wit and one-liners to the fray. Puns a plenty in this production, especially the chocolate bar scene which had around fifteen to twenty chocolate puns. The way he interacts with the audience and the kids who come up on stage are second to none - marvellous stuff.

Matthew Kelly and Matthew Rixon
Photo by Craig Sugden
As far as pantos go, this production is of high quality. Nice sets, Shetland Ponies, a 3D scene which works well, good lighting and good sound, and the band led by MD Matt Smith do a superb job throughout.

Go grab a seat for this wonderful production, it will get you in the Christmas mood for sure.

Four stars ✭✭✭✭

Cinderella runs at New Wimbledon Theatre until 11th January 2015
www.atgtickets.com/venues/new-wimbledon-theatre

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