Theatre Review: Cinderella at Nottingham Playhouse

Words: Tanya Louise
Tuesday 05 December 2023
reading time: min, words

Our Tanya Louise joined in the magic at Cinderella, this year's panto at the Nottingham Playhouse... 

054 Nottingham Playhouse Cinderella Pamela Raith Photography

Cinderella; the timeless classic, a fairytale that has been reimagined countless times throughout the years. For Christmas 2023 Nottingham Playhouse has taken the beloved story and given it a fresh and modern twist, bringing it to life in a way that is both enchanting and entertaining for children and adults alike.

The voice of Dame extraordinaire, John Elkington, signals the start of the show as we’re encouraged to practise our cheers and boos, before the curtain lifts to reveal a technicolour fairground, where our story begins with a chance meeting between Cinderella and the Prince.

The opening number, ‘It’s a kind of magic’, heralds what lies ahead over the following couple of hours as the stage is transformed into a stunning and magical world where anything is possible. The attention to detail throughout is truly impressive, from the costumes, particularly those of our Ugly Sisters, to the flying horse and carriage. Every aspect of the production is meticulously crafted by writer and Director, Adam Penford, to create an immersive experience for the audience.

Of course panto at the Playhouse wouldn’t be complete without our aforementioned Dame, the magnificent John Elkington as Rose

The cast is equally impressive, with each actor bringing their own unique energy and personality to their role. Of course panto at the Playhouse wouldn’t be complete without our aforementioned Dame, the magnificent John Elkington as Rose, who makes the show the laugh a minute triumph it is yet again this year. 

At first it feels odd having two Dames as we’re so used to Elkington stealing the show with his wit and costume changes, but with Tom Hopcroft playing alongside as sister Violet, a better sidekick they could not have cast.  He compliments Elkington excellently.

The chemistry between all the actors is clearly evident, whilst they look as if they are having as much fun as we are, their performances are both heartfelt and engaging. Cinderella herself is played by a talented young actress, Jewelle Hutchinson, who perfectly captures the innocence and strength of the character in this, her first professional debut.

030 Nottingham Playhouse Cinderella Pamela Raith Photography

Liam Marcellino and Georgia-Mae Price are our daft but handsome Prince and wise sidekick Dandini respectively, and make the perfect pairing. Our Fairy Godmother is talented actress and vocalist, Alice Redmond, who also plays the villainous her ladyship, providing plenty of laughs, but also serving as a reminder of the harsh realities of life.

From the opening number to the final bow, the songs are catchy and memorable, using well known numbers with lyrics that weave the story together. The choreography from Rosanna Bates is equally impressive, with a cast, which includes our talented young ‘Team Pumpkin’ moving seamlessly around the stage in a flurry of energy and motion.

Some of the jokes are a little dated and predictable, but with just the right amount of silliness throughout, you can’t help but laugh. Rather than rip up the rule book, everything that makes a pantomime successful has been thrown in with glorious effect, from ‘Button's big brass button’, water pistols, streamers and fake snow.  Expect 100% and more.

Whilst appealing to all, the playhouse pantomime often feels like the Nottingham pantomime for Nottingham people. This year is no exception. Not only boasting home grown talent, but all the little touches we come to expect, from the woodland creatures, to the tongue in cheek Nottingham City Transport sponsorship.

The production is, as always, is a must-see this Christmas and is sure to delight audiences of all ages. Whether you are a fan of the original story or are simply looking for a fun and entertaining night out, the show is sure to exceed your expectations.

Once again, Nottingham Playhouse has succeeded in putting the magic into Christmas.

Cinderella runs at The Nottingham Playhouse from Tuesday 4 December until Saturday 13 January


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