Panto review: Cinderella at Newbury Corn Exchange

Published: 5 Dec 2012 09:300 comments

Once again the pantomime at Newbury Corn Exchange looks set to be a highlight of the festive season.

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Cinderella has everything you would expect from a pantomime and quite a few unexpected things too.

The ugly sisters - Tia and Maria Hardup - serve up bitchiness in large measures. One asks the other: "Is my dress too revealing?" Her sister replies: "Yes, I can still see your face."

Cultural and local references are numerous. After extremely tall Tia does the splits in one routine Gangnam Style is transformed to Newbury Style.

Tia and Maria (Richard Foster-King and Joseph Wicks) try to cut down on competition at Prince Charming's ball by giving invitations only to stupid ugly people. "We got rid of quite a few in Thatcham."

The sisters didn't put a foot wrong apart from when Tia tripped up and her wig fell off. "Keep your hair on," Maria ad-libbed.

Natalia Campbell gives a wicked performance as Cinderella's stepmother, while Fairy Godmother Bea Holland has a beautiful singing voice.

Matthew Grace is warmly welcomed back this year with his "Alright my lovers" catchphrase as Billy Bumpkin.

The cast even managed to win over some young doubters in the audience. One initially reluctant four-year-old could be heard saying: "Dad, I like the singing."

After the ball, when the prince is trying to find the owner of the lost slipper they search the whole area. Unfortunately for Reading, the town's girls "all have their Jimmy Choos".

Even the sets have a starring role and Cinderella and Prince Charming ride off to married life in a very impressive coach and horses.

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