Review: Cinderella at Playhouse Whitley Bay
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a panto! So we were thrilled when we were asked to come to the press night for the Playhouse Whitley Bay’s newest offering for the festive season, Cinderella.
We grabbed our seats and got comfortable as the lights went down and the show began. The atmosphere was amazing with a buzz and energy from the excited panto-goers. The scene was set by the Fairy Godfather, played by the fabulous Louie Spence. He brought his usual energy, humour and verve to the role, and he set up the tone and pace of the pantomime perfectly. The Fairy Godfather helped narrate the story at times and set the different scenes, along with Buttons, played by local lad and Playhouse regular Steve Walls. They both did an amazing job of telling the story while getting the crowd going with some good old camp humour, with the jokes coming in thick and fast. The jokes were great, with something for everyone! Getting both the kids and adults laughing at different points, with a fantastic mix of all the panto classics, cheesy puns, raunchy one-liners and cheeky humour. Their rapport with the audience was brilliant, and helped the whole pantomime come together perfectly.
Also helping the story along were Keith and Ben Simmons as the Prince’s Footmen, Null and Void. This father and son double act got some great laughs as the show progressed, with both scripted jokes and set ups, as well as the odd improvised moments when things went a little wrong with one of their tricks! They were a great double act, and you could see their love of the panto in their performance.
Another great double act was Daniel Mawston and Luke Martin, as the ugly step sisters Patsy and Idena Hardup. They brought a good deal of bawdy humour with some great innuendos aimed at the adults, but also kept the kids laughing along too with some classic slapstick and over the top panto performances. Their costumes were perfectly hideous and gaudy, and you could tell they both really enjoyed playing the mean girls of the story!
The main characters of the show Cinderella and Prince Charming were played by Jessica Lilley and Jacob Beresford. They were both fantastic and were likeable leads in this classic fairytale of love and good triumphing over evil in the end. For Jacob this was actually his professional debut, but you certainly could not tell as he dealt with both the his scripted performance and the improvised parts of the show very well. Jessica played the star of the show beautifully, and had some stand out moments. One such moment was as her carriage took to the skies, just before the shows interval. This was a definite “wow” moment, and was met with a great cheer of excitement from the kids in the audience.
Accompanying the main characters were a host of young dancers. They were a great addition and gave the whole production a big show feel, with some beautifully put together and performed pieces. The choreography from Jo Walls was amazing, and the young dancers really did themselves proud.
The older main dancers did a brilliant job too, with some well performed and very professional moments that helped the story have that fairytale feel.
As the show progressed there was a few amusing little side surprises, such as Null and Void’s attempt at magic! These provided nice little moments of humour and improvisation. One of my favourites was the twelve days of Christmas song from Prince Charming, Buttons and Null and Void. The interaction with the audience was brilliant and felt very authentic.
Later on in the show Buttons also got several of the kids in the audience up on stage to take part in the show. While the show may have been a little more camp and bawdy then usual it still had a great family feel. They did a really good job of getting this balance right. By the end of the show they had everyone dancing in their seats and in the aisles, and there was a great party vibe, with the whole venue bouncing.
After the show many of the cast came out to meet and greet everyone, and people had a chance to have a photo taken with the stars. This was great to see!
Overall we’d definitely recommend seeing Cinderella at the Playhouse Whitley Bay. As a show it had something for everyone, with in jokes for the panto regulars, great sing along moments, plenty of laughs and some very well put together fairytale moments. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable, fun and entertaining time.
Cinderella is at the Playhouse Whitley Bay – Friday Dec 8th 2023 to Jan 6th 2024
Tickets via the link https://tinyurl.com/bybawvu4
Doors open 1 hours before the event
Duration Approx 2hrs 20mins
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