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Cinderella review at Theatre Royal Winchester – ‘vintage old-fashioned charm’

Andy Medhurst as Buttons and Bronte Tadman as Cinderella at Theatre Royal Winchester

Forget modern twists. Winchester Theatre Royal’s Cinderella is traditional, old-fashioned panto at its best. It even manages a principal boy of sorts in Nichole Bird’s sparky Dandini and, best of all, a silver sparkly coach drawn by two miniature white ponies carries a transformed Cinders to the ball.

The creative team of James Barry and Simon Slater are veterans here and know what works in Winchester.

It might lack starry names, but there’s plenty of glitz in the spangled settings, the gags are corny and largely clean, the original songs tuneful and the lyrics witty.

The onstage glue is children’s theatre veteran Andy Medhurst, a hard-working Buttons, whose rapport with the young audience is instant and warm-hearted.

Bronte Tadman proves a principal girl doesn’t have to be kickass but can score simply by radiating beauty and kindness – qualities she gets from her Fairy Godmother (Emily Stanghan).

You won’t find a gaudier pair of ugly sisters than Julian Eardley and Richard Gibson, Bryn Lucas’ preening prince displays a nice line in self-deprecating humour and Rosanna Miles’ glamour puss of a baroness laps up the hissing and booing.

It’s not perfect – I could have done without the dream ballet sequence featuring the Uglies and Buttons – but elsewhere, it ticks all the right boxes without seeming remotely passe. Simply charming.

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Verdict
Traditional pantomime full of vintage old-fashioned charm
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