For the third year running, Paul Holman Associates and the Marina Theatre produce a commercial and lavish pantomime that provides a Christmas treat for the audiences of Lowestoft
There are many star names in this year's production of Cinderella, with Amanda Barrie (of Coronation Street, Doctors, Bad Girls and Carry On Cleo) and Mike Newman Junior (who had assumed the mantle of Sooty and Rainbow) taking the roles of Fairy Godmother and Buttons respectively, this easterly corner of East Anglia generates a lot of celebrity power.
However, this isn't celebrity casting for its own sake, and the London theatre background of Barrie and Graeme Kinniburgh as Prince Charming combined with Suzanne David's (Cinderella) career as a singer in various bands means that Waveney coast audiences are given a taste of West End musical theatre at Christmas.
Clear, strong touching numbers such as West Side Story's "Somewhere" turned into a duet for Prince Charming and Cinderella and the modern electronic dance song "Don't You Worry Child" are adroitly fitted in.
A very capable band in the pit supports the accomplished on-stage performances and this adds to the West End ambience of this production. In addition to some very strong performances from the main cast, the chorus of pantomime seniors and children give excellent performances and are an integral part of the production rather than unnecessary stage dressing.
An excellent example of this is the hunt scene choreography, which is delightful. The scenery and costumes are sumptuous and the Ugly Sisters' various gaudy and grotesque outfits are a delight to anticipate in each scene; the lighting provides appropriate ambience and glamour.
There are occasional mishaps, such as missing props and sticking stage doors, but this is overcome by a quick-thinking cast ad-libbing and by the band in the pit providing appropriate sound effects. This demonstrates a close-knit and professional team able to keep a play going and overcome challenges like this. In essence, this is an enjoyable production which brings a hint of West End glamour in a traditional story to the East Coast.
Cinderella runs at the Marina Theatre, Lowestoft until 4 January