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“Tim vine on top form”

Before its extensive renovation, Fairfield Halls presented its pantomime in the proscenium-arched Ashcroft Theatre. It was an ambitious move upon reopening to switch it to the 1,800-seat Phoenix Concert Hall but, thanks in no small part to the design team, it’s a qualified success. An elaborate fixed setting is supplemented by high-tech video screens and Nina Dunn’s animated video designs deliver a host of colourful backdrops.

George Wood’s production is otherwise fairly run-of-the-mill, mixing aspirational romantic adventure with some unfortunately stale routines. In a big plus, Tim Vine is on top form as a family-friendly Buttons, creating groan-worthy puns at a rate of knots. The love story is provided by James Bisp as Prince Charming, his romantic soft-rock baritone complementing Grace Chapman’s soaring mezzo as an eternally optimistic Cinderella.

Ore Oduba’s popular appearance on Strictly Come Dancing in 2016 gives the presenter a great excuse to show off some dance moves as Dandini at the ball, while CBeebies’ Cat Sandion is effortlessly loveable as the Fairy Godmother.

The villains here are undoubtedly grotesque but there’s little fresh in Jason Marc-Williams and Alistair Barron’s Tess and Claudia. On the whole, producer Imagine Theatre needs to devote as much attention to the storytelling as it does the design.

Related to this Review

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Production Details
Production nameCinderella
VenueFairfield Halls
StartsDecember 10, 2019
EndsJanuary 5, 2020
Running time2hrs 40mins
AuthorWill Brenton
DirectorGeorge Wood
Musical directorSteve Clark
ChoreographerLynne Thomas
Set designerMark Walters
Costume designerMark Walters
Lighting designerJamie Corbidge
Sound designerMike Thacker
Video designerNina Dunn
CastAlistair Barron, Cat Sandion, Grace Chapman, James Bisp, Jason Marc-Williams, Ore Oduba, Tim Vine, Katie Cameron
Production managerJohn Young
Stage managerAlistair Kleissner
ProducerImagine Theatre
VerdictAmbitiously designed pantomime that could be tighter in terms of storytelling
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Paul Vale

Paul Vale

Paul Vale

Paul Vale

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