Panto Review: Cinderella - York Theatre Royal ✭✭✭
York Theatre Royal
It's been quite a year for York Theatre Royal - Now back up and running after it's refurbishment, last years most glorious panto was staged at the Railway Museum in a huge site specific tent, used for The Railway Children. This was theatre at it's very best, fresh, vibrant, new ideas, new designs and a joy to watch. Bring the show back into the familiar proscenium arch at the Theatre Royal, and this year's production seems to fall a little flat.
It isn't helped by the fact that one of the main players in York, Martin Barrass could not participate this year after a serious accident which he is recovering from. We are lucky that Berwick Kaler is fighting fit to perform, direct and write his 38th Panto after having a pacemaker fitted this year too.
Kaler and Damian Cruden have tried to keep up with the times with this show, but it still feels dated. We get two video sequences this year, both of which seem low in quality. One is a Carpool Karaoke affair with an appearance from Suzi Quatro, which doesn't have any relevance to the panto at all. The other has a cameo from local news presenter Harry Gration, and of course Martin Barrass shows in the end, to rapturous applause from the audience.
Unfortunately, Cinderella is lacking the razzmatazz and dazzling numbers from previous outings, even the slapstick slosh truck scene lacks, well, slapstick and gallons of water. There are two saving graces to this show though - Suzy Cooper and David Leonard!
Suzy Cooper glitters in formidable style as Cinderella, an audience favourite and is a joy to watch. David Leonard's wicked step mother is also glorious, one of the best baddies in the country by far and I've seen many a panto this year.
Let's hope this is just a one off glitch for York Theatre Royal, and it will come bouncing back at the end of the year with a panto that is full of ideas that will get it back to the top of it's game.
Three stars ✭✭✭
Cinderella runs until 28th January www.yorktheatreroyal.co.uk