The Ugly Sisters, Ivanka (Miles Western) and Ivana (Jay Worthy), give Cindereall (Lucy-Jane Quinlan) a hard time. Picture: Richard Budd 

Cinderella: Lighthouse, Poole. Tuesday 12th December, 2017

Wow! Much as it alarms me to admit it I have been going to pantomimes for around 60 years now and reviewing them professionally since the 1970s.

I don’t know how many Cinderellas I have seen but this extraordinary version of the ultimate rags to riches fairytale is probably among the best I have ever witnessed.

 I am not exaggerating. With a talented cast, it offers a perfect balance of traditional and modern theatrical sensibilities. It is full of music, laughter, raucous audience participation and excellent comic timing. What’s more there’ some great singing too.

Written and directed by former Blue Peter star Peter Duncan, this is a production full of slick and knowing performances and brilliant choreography for both dance numbers and knockabout comedy routines. 

Lucy-Jane Quinlan makes a wonderfully characterful Cinderella. Penniless but desperate to marry a handsome prince, she finds herself in a battle of wills with her cruel ugly step-sisters - Ivanka and Ivana -  the devastatingly brilliant creation of Miles Western and Jay Worthy.

Richard Gibson (Herr Flick from ‘Allo ‘Allo) is impressive as her doppy but well-meaning father Baron Hardup. He’s not only a good actor but he must be one of the few 63-year-olds who can turn cartwheels night after night.

Ethan Lawrence is a revelation as Buttons - the Hardup Hall servant who secretly loves Cinderella but still helps her find romance with the Prince. This is his first ever pantomime and he’s a comedy natural who builds a great rapport with the young audience.

Lucy Kay is excellent as the Fairy Godmother who makes Cinderella’s dreams come true while George Beet and Duncan Earlam are spot on as Prince Charming and his manservant Dandini.

There’s panto magic galore as Cinderella’s rags are turned into a beautiful ball gown and a pumpkin and a couple of mice are transformed into a crystal coach pulled by real ponies. The Ugly Sisters are confounded, Cinderella gets her man. Perfect entertainment for children, parents and grannies and granddads.

*Cinderella plays Lighthouse until Saturday 6th January.

Jeremy Miles

© Jeremy Miles 2022