Nottingham’s Theatre Royal has been ill-served by its pantos in the past, but this one is a corker.
Madness and mayhem dominate and, while all the elements of the traditional fairy story are here, they take second place to the knockabout comedy.
It’s not only the Ugly Sisters (a strong pairing in Les Dennis and Connor McIntyre) who are in on the fun; Gareth Gates’ Prince Charming also succumbs. The comic timing of the routines is exemplary and Sooty’s antics go down a storm with the audience.
Richard Cadell shines as Buttons. Ebullient, engaging and tireless – “Twice a day for six weeks!”, he pants at one point – he is the glue that holds the show together. Guy Unsworth’s production has some some sublime moments, notably the flying sequence of Cinderella’s coach and horses, some sassy dancing at the Ball and and some classic magic acts.
The Theatre Royal Orchestra comes up trumps too. The only gripe is with the sound levels in general. They’re up so high, they do a disservice to solo voices, and that’s a pity.