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Cinderella review at Fairfield Halls, Croydon – ‘invested with romance’

Richard Walsh, Stewart Wright and Matt Daines in Cinderella at Fairfield Halls, Croydon. Photo: Frazer Ashford Richard Walsh, Stewart Wright and Matt Daines in Cinderella at Fairfield Halls, Croydon. Photo: Frazer Ashford
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The partnership between Evolution Pantomimes and the Fairfield Halls has long been a fertile one, producing consistently good, family shows featuring star names, plenty of flashy effects and humour with a distinctly local colour. This year is no exception and while Cinderella may be a popular choice, director Matt Daines and choreographer Abbie Jouxson-Moore ensure that there are plenty of original touches to this version.

As Buttons, Stephen Mulhern’s brand of cheeky humour and slapstick magic is a constant source of fun and the presenter has a real affinity with the kids. For the adults, director Daines and Stewart Wright are on form as voracious ugly sisters Beatrice and Eugenie. An accomplished cast include Lisa Davina Phillip as a refreshingly mischievous Fairy Godmother and Steve Wickenden, fleshing out the comedy in the often overlooked role of Dandini.

A pantomime may feature all the magic and comedy in the world but it struggles to engage unless it invests in its romance. Joanna Sawyer as Cinders and Benjamin Brook as Prince Charming may not get top billing but they have a genuine chemistry and Sam Smith’s Stay With Me, sung at the ball under the starlight pinpoints the romantic watershed moment.

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Loads of laughs and flashy production values but it's the romance that takes centre stage in this classic fairy tale