The Yvonne Arnaud’s panto is always a treat to watch and this year’s production of "Cinderella" is just as enjoyable as its predecessors
Cinderella at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre is a very Surrey panto, with jokes about the local hairdressers, the A3 and rival town Woking, so it keeps the adults chuckling alongside the children, who are in hysterics about fart jokes and funny wigs. Bringing the family together is what this theatre does best; loving your friends and family is one of the key themes throughout the show.
The pace is a smidgeon slow in the first act and probably could have done with a few more song and dance numbers to liven it up, but by the time Cinderella is taken off to the ball in a Shetland pony-drawn carriage (yes, there are real ponies!) the audience are rooting for her.
The second act brings out panto staples including a riotous ghost scene that has the numerous Scout and Brownie groups screaming in delight.
Heading the cast is the sprightly Bonnie Langford as Fairy Snow, whose nimbleness makes her seem as cute as a button – with a couple of high kicks thrown in.
Cinderella and Prince Charming are played by the best-looking people in Surrey – Alice Baker and Tom Senior – and the pair of them make a lovely couple. Robert Maskell gives Baron Hardup a surprising twist and his Liberace tribute is simply divine.
Judging by the audience's reaction, this show should be renamed Buttons, as Jamie Brook works the crowd up into a frenzy and rivals Harry Styles in the number of screams he receives. But of course, it wouldn't be panto without a middle-aged man in a frock and in Cinderella we're presented with the double act of Kit Hesketh-Harvey and Peter Gordon as the Ugly Stepsisters.
The pair are a marvellous double act, with Hesketh-Harvey's zingy bitchiness offsetting Gordon's pudding-like greed to have adults and children booing and hissing throughout the show.
Although it's not without some faults, ;;Cinderella'' upholds the Yvonne Arnaud's tradition of staging family-friendly entertainment at Christmas and you'd have to be a Scrooge to not come out with festive cheer in your step.
Cinderella plays at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford until 12 January.