Review: Cinderella − Oh what a pantomime!
PUBLISHED: 17:13 12 December 2018 | UPDATED: 17:13 12 December 2018
It’s that time of year again – oh yes it is! – when flamboyant costumes, dazzling sets and cheesy comedy are the order of the day so, getting into the festive spirit last night (Tuesday), I ventured forth with my 10-year-old son into panto-land at The Bristol Hippodrome.
Cinderella stars family favourites the hilarious Brian Conley as Buttons and style guru Gok Wan as the Fairy Gokmother who are the glue which holds the show together. With four pantomimes together already in their sequined swag bags, the pair feed off each other, causing many unplanned moments of mirth and merriment, which prompted a bigger reaction from last night’s audience than anything in the actual script did!
Theatre stalwart Lauren Hall stars as the title character, making her ninth pantomime appearance as a principal girl for the production company Qdos Entertainment.
Her singing and dancing skills were impeccable, and a charming scene where her, Buttons and Prince Charming are singing together and pushing each other off a wall was one of the best moments in the show.
Another highlight was a clever silver carriage drawn by white horses, magically flying over the stage, representing Cinderella’s journey to the royal ball. All kudos to, well, Qdos and the set-designers and engineers for the remarkable feat, although the workings might have been spotted by my cynical child!
Bristolian actor Ben Stock and Neal Wright came a close second in the comedy stakes to former BBC1 Strictly Come Dancing contestant and musical theatre star Brian.
The audience loved booing and hissing in true panto-style every time they walked on stage as the ugly sisters with their sychronised: ‘Alright me babbers?’ and ‘suit yourselves’ in their broadest Bristolian lilt.
For Gok, who presented the Channel 4 series How To Look Good Naked and Gok’s Fashion Fix, Cinderella is his sixth foray into pantomime, the first of which was the subject of the Channel 4 documentary Gok Does Panto.
In some ways, his is the most difficult part, with few comedy lines but many plot-leading ones, which means he has to maintain a modicum of composure to ensure the story flows seamlessly, which is not easy when you are being mercilessly distracted by your co-star. The pair have an obvious chemistry which delighted the audience, young and old.
My son, after initial reticence to see a show based on Cinderella, had a huge grin on his face throughout and especially enjoyed the many toilet-based gags.
There is also the usual mix of topical references, silly jokes and tender moments. There is definitely something for everyone.
And after seeing a meme on Facebook today suggesting panto may as well be cancelled with the ridiculous antics at the House of Commons taking over, I think there is definitely a need for escaping the comings and goings of politics during the festive season and this show might well provide the antidote to it all, or at the very least, a welcome two-hour distraction.
Cinderella will be playing until January 6 with tickets, starting from £12, available on 08448 713012 or at www.atgtickets.com/bristol-hippodrome