As always at Prince of Wales’ pantos, the lynchpin is George Critchley, who not only writes, directs and produces, but also plays Ugly Sister Juanita, successfully pairing with Keith De’Winter as sibling Conchita.
There are no real weaknesses to the Prince of Wales Theatre’s Cinderella, all the leading players demonstrate fine singing voices and acting. It’s a bit too long and some of the comedy wavers here and there, but by and large it’s a satisfying blend of traditional storytelling, audience participation and humour.
The first half is a tad long at almost 90 minutes as Cinders’ lingers over her decision to depart for the ball. But it includes a delightful ballet scene and the build-up to the interval is a joy.
Francesca Mae Smith ably plays both Cinderella’s wicked stepmother Lady Morticia and Dandini, while Prince Charming is warmly played by Morgan Hughes. There are strong performances, too, from Lauren Dawes in the title role and Jessica Baker as her Fairy Godmother. Mark Homer’s Buttons keeps the audience chuckling but doesn’t quite convince as Cinderella’s naïve young suitor.