PANTO: Review of Cinderella at Worthing’s Pavilion Theatre
While theatres in towns like Brighton ditched their panto years ago, Worthing’s is still serving up a slice of British tradition every Christmas.
And thank goodness, because Cinderella at the Pavilion Theatre is the perfect festive family treat.
All star cast. Tick. Songs to sing along to. Tick. Comedy, dancing and a huge amount of fun. Tick, tick, tick!
I’ve seen the panto for the last few years, but this year there seemed to be more stars than ever on the bill. And even better, all of them were great.
Ian Waite, of Strictly Come Dancing fame, gave a tongue-in-cheek performance as Prince Charming’s loyal aid Dandini.
Probably best known to the younger members of the audience for starring on children’s television, Naomi Wilkinson was a sweet and endearing Cinders.
Prince Charming was played by Mark Read, who used to be a member of boyband A1. Known for their cover of a-ha’s Take on Me, I was pleased the song made an appearance in the show.
Meanwhile, Bad Girls actress Nicole Faraday was the Evil Step-Mother. Suitably villainous, my throat is still a little sore from the amount of ‘boos’ I shouted out.
But, despite there being bigger names in the line-up, for me it was two lesser-known stars stole the show.
Firstly, comedian Mark Jones returned to Worthing by popular demand after his panto stint last year. This time appearing as Cinderella’s best friend Buttons, he had an easy way with the audience.
While musical comedian Katie Pritchard took on her first panto in the role of Fairy Godmother. And she was a natural. Such great timing and a natural rapport with the crowd.
Ahead of the panto run starting, producer Paul Holman promised ‘plenty of audience interaction plus a good dose of panto mischief and mayhem’.
What was clear as the curtain fell, was that he had absolutely delivered.
My high-energy five-year-old daughter sat rooted to her seat, only moving to jump up and yell ‘he’s behind you’ at appropriate moments.
She has already asked if we can go again, as said she loved it ‘one million per cent’.
High praise indeed, but with all the elements needed to make a great panto being poured into this production - from spectacular costumes and set to top-notch singing and dancing - I think it’s well deserved.