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“Comic shenanigans”

This year’s Opera House pantomime is every bit as sumptuous looking as you’d expect a Qdos production to be. But, as with many a modern panto, the comic shenanigans threaten to crowd out the fairytale elements.

That said, the combination of Ben Nickless as Buttons and the relaxed, lugubrious pairing of Corrie star Connor McIntyre and Les Dennis as the Ugly Sisters, is never less than entertaining. But the emphasis on them means that Cinders (an engaging Shannon Flynn) barely gets any stage time early on, and Guy Unsworth’s production only really hits its stride when the mechanics of the Cinderella story properly kick in.

Nickless especially, whose tried and tested prop comedy and impressions channel the spirit of Freddie Starr – and, in the case of a speeded up Elvis section, borrow from him liberally – has the kids in stitches. But featuring so many of his routines gives the production a slightly disjointed feel.

Connor McIntyre and Les Dennis in Cinderella at Manchester Opera House. Photo: Phil Tragen

Luckily, when they do get together, the central pairing of Flynn and Gareth Gates’ affably confident Prince works well – with Gates especially being given time to show off his considerable vocal talents – and a spectacular coach ride, complete with animatronic flying horses, delivers a mind-boggling feast for the eyes.


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Production Details
Production nameCinderella
VenueOpera House
StartsDecember 8, 2018
EndsDecember 30, 2018
Running time2hrs
AuthorAlan Mchugh
DirectorGuy Unsworth
Musical directorSteve Price
ChoreographerFabian Aloise
Costume designerMike Coltmas
Lighting designerNick Richings
Sound designerRoss Portway
CastGareth Gates, Ben Nickless, Connor Mcintyre, Hayley-Ria Christian, Les Dennis, Shannon Flynn
Stage managerCeejay Davies, Rebecca Spiller
VerdictLavish pantomime overbalanced by the weight of its comic routines
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Chris Bartlett

Chris Bartlett

Chris Bartlett

Chris Bartlett

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