Doncaster’s Cast theatre’s pantomime has always been a more modest, small-scale production, eschewing celebrity casting and gimmicks and this year’s Cinderella is no exception. Author Ben Crocker has used the original Perrault version of the fairytale, rather than that of the Brothers Grimm, so the emphasis is on family fun rather than anything more macabre.
Ugly Sisters Scott Haining and Shaun Hennessy throw themselves into the ridiculous costumes and saucy ab-libs with aplomb, while Al Bollands makes his panto debut as the lovelorn but cheery Buttons. There’s also a gender-flipped Prince Charming and Dandini, and all the cast use BSL sign language throughout.
It looks gorgeous, especially when Cinders’ carriage – complete with unicorn – is unveiled, and the many soap bubbles blown into the audience keep the children entertained. And, although some of the song choices seem a bit strange (does anyone even remember last year’s novelty hit We Built This City On Sausage Rolls?), the two-piece band of Will Henshall and Tanelli Clarke sound great even if they are situated up in the circle.
The only issue is the lack of a real pantomime villain, and with nobody to properly boo and jeer at, it sometimes feels like there’s a lack of energy to proceedings. Cast’s Cinderella may be formulaic, but it’s enjoyable fun and just needs an extra dash of stardust to really click into place.