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Cinderella (Manchester)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
This year's Manchester panto comes in the form of Cinderella - a tale of a young girl who, stripped from fortune, still manages to bag herself Prince Charming. Far from the Disney classic, this adaptation, written by the multi-talented director and actor Eric Potts, puts a unique twist on the story and adds plenty of Christmas trimmings along the way.

Of course there are all the formulaic scenes and cringe-worthy jokes that would only ever be acceptable at this time of year - the baron and the baddies unable to see the ghouly behind them, as well as the screams of 'He's behind you!' and the 'Oh yes you are!' from the audience. And they continue to be delivered and encouraged with the same professionalism and ease one always sees and expects from the city's annual pantomime.

Former pop star and Emmerdale actress Suzanne Shaw makes a charming principle, her golden locks, graceful dancing and strong vocals fitting the part of Cinderella to perfection. The moment she gets transformed from servant girl to princess, and is sent on her way to the ball in an extravagant carriage, is a scene that should not be missed.

Tam Ryan acts as the main catalyst of audience participation, his comedic streak that has been developed from doing an impressive 12 pantomimes, providing many a laugh for children and adults alike. Likewise, Drew Christie and David Dale are both real pros and do a fantastic job in 'dragging' up the parts of the ugly sisters, while David Fleeshman makes the role of Baron his own.

And, of course, there is the new Dancing On Ice judge - Louie Spence. While he is eccentric and funny in his role as the Prince's wedding planner, it does feel that his voice is consistently on fast-forward, and quite often his lines become lost as a result.
With stunning musical arrangements from Pete Faint and the band, beautiful scenery and pleasant choreography, Cinderella is most certainly worth a Bibbidi-Bobbidi Boo to the Opera House this Christmas.

- Rebecca Cohen


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