Newport is a town that’s always done things differently. Perhaps it’s because of geography, but Newport prides itself on being the working-class town with an edge that refuses to conform to what its neighbours in Cardiff or Bristol might be up to.
The Riverfront’s annual pantomime is no different, proudly creating a family show that’s defiantly irreverent. Without star names but instead a tight cast of very good actors, Cinderella retains everything one expects from a festive panto, but also dares to be different.
Richard Gauntlett’s script places Cinderella, Buttons et al in an optimistically seaside-postcard version of Newport, Chris Illingworth’s lighting a summery joy. The benefits of a panto produced in-house is that it’s tailored for its audience who lapped up the local references, as well as indulging in all the familiar traditions.
A tremendous Keiron Self has the best gags as a refreshingly un-soppy Buttons, while Richard Elis and Geraint Rhys Edwards’ stepsisters skilfully riff their way through the show. Laura Meaton and Gareth Tempest are as charming a Cinders and Prince as you could wish for, each bringing the house down with their own musical numbers.
A fun, anarchic treat that truly captures the spirit of panto.