The Fairy Godmother of all pantomimes has landed in Birmingham Hippodrome and it’s safe to say that it lives up to its hype.
Pantomime is one of the many things that Birmingham does well, so well in fact that it’s one of the two venues that Qdos Entertainment’s Michael Harrison chooses to house his spectacular productions in the country, alongside London’s Palladium theatre.
Having celebrated an incredible run with 2017’s Dick Whittington, it’s fair to say that the bar for Cinderella was set high, and it didn’t disappoint. For this is a pantomime that in its six-week residency took 30 trucks to move and unload, will see the cast spend an entire weeks worth of time on stage and see the costume department do a staggering 375 loads of washing.
Pantomime is at the heart of the UK’s biggest Christmas traditions, it’s something that’s aged like a fine wine, every year it just gets better and better, and Cinderella delivers on every single level. From the outstanding stage production, the beautifully camp and glamorous costumes and of course, what is possibly one of the strongest casts that the Hippodrome’s pantomime has seen grace its stage to date.
Hear’Say star and winner of Dancing on Ice Suzanne Shaw takes on the role of darling Cinders, bringing a beautiful new personality to one of Disney’s much-loved characters, alongside stunning vocals and costumes that every little girl would dream of wearing.
Cinderella isn’t complete without the Ugly Sisters, and Ceri Dupree and David Dale oozed every inch of the baddies that you just love to hate as Voluptua and Verruca – not to mention that their questionable for incredible costumes were enough to set you off in fits of laughter on multiple occasions.
Her Prince Charming, Danny Mac, is no stranger to the Hippodrome, having only performed here months ago with Sunset Boulevard. Danny had no trouble in charming the audience with his skilful Samba moves that waltzed him all the way to the Strictly Come Dancing finals in 2017; paired with his impressive vocals, he’s proving himself to becoming a forced to be reckoned with on both the stage, screen and dance floor.
Wolverhampton’s Beverley Knight simply shined as The Fairy Godmother, a role that many would consider was made for her to bring to life. Cinderella is Beverley’s pantomime debut, but her performance would lead anyone to believe that this is something that she’s done many times before. Team her with the likes of comedic duo the Grumbleweeds, who had the crowd in fits of laughter with a very cringeworthy scene involving a rotating stool and a fantastic duet with Beverley that was so cleverly played out to keep both adults and children entertained.
It goes without saying that the audience were glad to see Matt Slack return for his fifth consecutive year at the Hippodrome. This year, Matt is playing Buttons, Cinders’ best friend who’s he’s head over heels in love with. Always a favourite, he once again didn’t disappoint with his hilarious scenes that saw him have a couple of issues with Amazon’s Alexa and build up some brilliant banter with the audience throughout.
There’s nothing about Cinderella that’s unlikeable. The script and storyline maintains and holds itself with ease, packed with humour and innuendos that have all members of the audience crying with laughter; the set design and production rivals anything that I’ve seen in a pantomime before, and the cast, live band and everything in between leaves you walking out of the auditorium smiling from ear to ear.
It’s the added extras that I couldn’t get enough of; Matt pointing a camera into the audience to find Cinderella the perfect boyfriend, the dance off between Buttons and Prince Charming, and the grand finale where Matt was joined on stage by four children – no spoilers here, but it’s by far the funniest moment I’ve ever seen on stage.
Loveable, enchanting, hilarious and show-stoppingly brilliant, Cinderella is an absolute must-see at Birmingham Hippodrome where it runs until January 28. Get your tickets here!