Thursday, 15 December 2011


Off to Richmond Theatre tonight to enjoy their yearly offering of pantomime. Matcham's crimson chocolate box is the perfect playhouse and really comes into it's own every December when the frocks are dusted down, the backdrops hauled up on the flies and the cast settle in for the month and a half run. This year it's the turn of Cinderella. Lite on reality TV celebs and high on variety entertainers it was heart warmingly traditional and rather brilliantly played.

Gary Wilmott stars as the ever amiable, best of best friends, Buttons delighting in warming up the children as he confides in them of his love for Cinderella, charmingly played by Kellie Shirley. Hard not to feel a little heartbroken when she reveals that she loves him 'like a brother.' Still with the resilance of the playground he's quick to bounce back and is soon doing everything in his power to get her to the ball.

His show driving energy is well supported by Graham Hoadley and Paul Burnham as the ugly sisters Beatrice and Eugenie, who, like their royal namesakes work their way through an desperate amount of implausible costumes, each more outrageous than the last.

Together they form a devastating double act as cruel as they are ridiculous. They left the audience roaring in disapproval and delight.

There are local gags, Shetland ponies, camp choreography, a perfectly acted slosh scene and Jenny Eclair tottering around as a rather out of place fairy Godmother, all of which contributes to a blissful evening of high octane, joke filled, routine rich, joy.

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