Bold and bright Cinderella at Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

The panto dames

The panto dames - Credit: Archant

A pantomime is a great part of Christmas and often the first time children see some live theatre.

You could really feel the anticipation in the audience at The Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds as children, mums, dads and extended family gathered to watch Cinderella.

This is a traditional family pantomime, written by former Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan, with a few modern twists, like original use of some of the songs from ‘Frozen’.

Aimme Barrett is a picture perfect Cinderella, who isn’t afraid to show her gutsy side, and it’s refreshing to see the character written as a much stronger role model for girls. Danielle Delys and Julia Cave make fine principal boys as Dandini and Prince Charming in great thigh slapping form.

Philip Cox is suitably dithery as poor old Baron Hardup, faced with taking in his two stepdaughters, the Ugly Sisters Katy P and Lady G, played with more than a dash of ‘TOWIE’ brashness and a huge dollop of comedy by James Parkes and Jon de Ville. They steal the show on more than one occasion and had the audience in fits of laughter.

Someone else who gives as many laughs as he does tears is Matthew Russell-Jones, whose lovelorn Buttons tugs at your heartstrings. Finally Sarah-Louise Young, as the deliciously witty and charming Fairy Godmother, sprinkles the whole production with the luck of the Irish. No girl should be without a Fairy Godmother like her.

The chorus are delightful and made me realise what talented youngsters we have in the county. They quite rightly get one of the biggest cheers of the night in the finale.

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The set is bright and bold, like illustrations from a children’s book, with a cartoon quality. It slides easily from scene to scene so the action rattles along and the pace never slips, which is important when you’ve got children in the audience.

A quick tip, as soon as the lights go down at the start of both halves make sure you are watching the stage carefully, or you’ll miss the cutest stars of the show.


The Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

until Sunday January 11, 2015.