If this year’s Cinderella at the Bristol Hippodrome had failed to offer the best dressed Ugly Sisters in pantoland, management would surely have wanted to know why. For on hand to give fashion advice was TV’s style guru Gok Wan, another of Qdos Entertainment’s left-centre choices as Fairy Godmother, following in the Bristol wake of the likes of Torvill and Dean.
Wan has shared headline billing before with the incredibly hard-working Brian Conley, whose Buttons marks his 35th foray into pantomime. They certainly bounce off each other with some panache and, no doubt helped by principal girl turned director Kathryn Rooney, have moved with the times by considerably lowering the off-colour quotient.
About 20 minutes of the first half is totally wasted by a cod Bristol’s Got Talent spoof, but as ever with Qdos this is balanced by opulent production values and the spectacular Cinderella-bearing flying pumpkin coach that soars over the auditorium.
Lauren Hall, as Cinders, and Scott Mobley, as her Prince, are in powerful voice in otherwise under-written roles, and Ben Stock and Neal Wright, as the obviously named Tess and Claudia, show just why they won Best Ugly Sisters at the 2018 Great British Pantomime Awards.