Sunday, May 19, 2024

Cinderella sparkles at the Thameside! (with a touch of Gangnam style)

A PACKED audience was treated to a wonderful, vivacious, funny, heart-warming Cinderella at the Thameside Theatre.

This was only the third show in but you could already tell that the cast were having a great time. And if you feel they are comfortable in their own costumes (and boy were there some costumes) then the audience is comfortable as well.

To be honest, the “old grey whistle test” for YT was to bring the editor’s grand-daughter to her first ever pantomime. And three-year-old Millie loved it. It can be a tough ask to keep a three year old entertained as the clock goes way past her bed time but she sat fascinated throughout and was also delighted to get a high-five from Fairy Flustered!

There are some cracking singers here as well. The vocal abilities of Eloise Smith (Cinderella), Jamie Jukes (Prince Charming) and Lydia Fraser (Fairy Superior) are worth the entrance fee alone.

Chris Simmons is such a charming and affable Buttons. Former The Bill star, Chris hasn’t done pantomime for quite some time but portrays the right level of cheekiness and energy to keep the show together.

And he bounces off the ugly sisters very well indeed. It would be great to come back in three weeks and see what the banter is like then.

EastEnders and Hollyoaks star Gemma Bissix also puts in a hilarious comedy turn as the hapless Fairy Flustered. Gemma’s impressive CV shows she can turn her hand to anything but the scene where she is on the mobility scooter was very funny and shows that great comedic timing is another string to her bow.

Cinderella was clearly melting everyones hearts. This was Eloise Smith’s first pantomime but it did not show. A wonderful singer and a lovely Cinders.

Whilst all this is going on, there was some wonderful dancing on display. Hats off to principle dancers. They can be found rehearsing in the foyer of the theatre and even on stage, they have limited space but they put in stellar performances.

Speaking of the ugly sisters, they are a hoot. Millicent and Muriel Hardup are a great double act. Andrew Lazarus is a local lad. He has a touch of the Matt Lucas about him and really bounces off his comedy partner as well as the audience. Although he didn’t bounce off Wain Douglas, when Wain’s pumpkin outfit deflated mid-song. This was possibly, the moment of the pantomime. But it took a consummate professional like Wain to pull it off.

The costumes were dazzling especially the mad outfits for the ugly sisters and the sets were also excellent especially the horse and carriage at the end. And let us not forget the director, Lorinda King, who has created a seamless production that entertains and enthralls crowds of all ages.

On stage and behind the scenes, there must be so much hard work that goes into the making of the Thameside pantomime. They should be proud of what they have achieved and more importantly, you must get along and see the whole show. Gangnam style and all!!



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