Review: Hall for Cornwall panto serves up a festive treat


- Credit: Archant

There are three main ingredients you need for a good panto: at least one man dressed and acting outrageously (but never convincingly) as a woman, plenty of slapstick set vaguely around a familiar fairy tale and enough audience participation and laughs for everyone to enjoy whatever their age. It’s a big ask - but Hall for Cornwall’s fantastic Cinderella more than answered the brief.

Packed audiences greeted their first day’s double bill, and with the hardworking cast there was barely a moment to draw breath from one laugh to the next. The production followed the familiar story of the little cinder girl, but added in a heroine who couldn’t dance, an absent step-mother, a forgetful father and some Shakespearean role swapping.

The stars of the show were the two ugly sisters, played by Granville Saxton and Daniel Cane. From their arrival on stage by tinsel-ensconced shopping trolley to their final flourish, stole the show with their fast-paced joke-laden repartee.

The ensemble cast worked hard, while Prince Charming’s valet Dandini delighted, Cinderella (Nichola Lagan) was the ultimate likeable ingénue and Prince Charming as handsome as he should be, with a little splash of silliness thrown in.

The hardworking Buttons, played by Dean Nolan, was also a joy to watch, while the songs – which included everything from One Direction to a medley of cringe-worthy party favourites and Gangnam Style managed to find something for everyone. And while my eight-year-old son declared himself to old for pantomimes as we went in, he was certainly sitting forward and enjoying the show by its end.

But as always for a panto, it is the audience that make the show – their willingness to join in, sing and shout out ‘Oh no he’s not’ with real joy is a must – and Hall for Cornwall’s theatre did not disappoint.

Cinderella continues at Hall for Cornwall until 11 January.

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