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Published Wednesday 12 December 2012 at 15:58 by Richard Edmonds

You don’t need a million pound budget to stage a successful panto, you just need commitment, warmth, and a spoonful of that elusive ingredient - theatre magic.

All those ingredients are here, in a memorable small-scale production of Cinderella, which presents the fairytale in a way which delights the eye and touches the heart.

Pantoland is a special place, filled with men dressed as women and ersatz emotions. But there are more delicate matters at play in this production, directed skilfully by Ian Billings.

For example, we know Buttons (the splendid Ricky K) is hopelessly in love with Cinderella (admirably performed by Lucy Pollard) and usually we weep crocodile tears.

But here, Buttons is re-invented as a kind of Littlechap and his predicament was touching. How Ricky K found the door into this melancholy garden of the heart is a mystery, but he does, and you weep for him.

Prince Charming’s courtliness (Dean Read) and Dandini’s cheekiness ( Marcus Evans) are admirable, also.

The Uglies (Mark Two and Jamie Steen) were quite correctly wickedly anarchic - tangle with these two and you risk annihalation. At various gorgeous moments the plot was less important than what these masterful performers were doing or saying, and clearly the author was content to let the venom drip.

Production information

Oakengates Theatre, the Place Telford, December 12-December 31

Lee Waddington, Ian Billings
Ian Billings
Jane Webb
Oakengates Theatre, Paul Holman Associates
Cast includes:
Lucy Pollard, Camilla Dallerup, Marcus Evans, Dean Read, Ricky K, Mark Two, Jamie Steen
Running time:
2hrs 30 mins

Production information displayed was believed correct at time of review. Information may change over the run of the show.

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Run sheet

King's Head, Islington London
January 24-February 15 2014