You’ll have a ball with Cinderella

Cinderella cast outside the Waterside Theatre
Cinderella cast outside the Waterside Theatre

Suzanne Shaw as a glittering and beautiful fairy godmother and Russell Grant as a twinkle toed Baron Hardup star in the festive favourite Cinderella, which is on at the Waterside into the New Year.

And if the reaction of the little ones in the audience is anything to go by, this is one very popular panto.

The transformation scene at the end of Act One brought gasps of utter delight as beautiful Holly Brewer playing Cinderella changed out of her rags into a glittering ballgown and stepped into a sparkling carriage pulled by two gorgeous tiny white ponies.

Every generation was represented in the packed auditorium with tiny tots dressed as Father and Mother Christmases, sparkly fairies and elves, waving flourescent wands, gloves and sticks. And they joined in with enthusiasm every time they were invited to shout out ‘Oh No You’re Not’ or ‘He’s Behind You!’

The show has an imaginative opening involving Shaw, which I won’t spoil by revealing, and the opening musical number is a very appropriate rendition of Pharrell Williams’ infectious hit Happy, sung by Holly Brewer.

Russell Grant makes his entrance on a tricycle and immediately breaks out into a spectacular samba to the sound of Stevie Wonder’s effervescent Another Star.

With both of these numbers, the stars are superbly supported by the adult dance ensemble and the talented children from Aylesbury’s Musical Kidz Company.

Musical director Simon Pickering and his small band of musicians do a splendid job of producing a powerful sound throughout the show.

Prince Charming was a handsome hero and shared several touching musical numbers with Cinders. These numbers for me were slightly disappointing as I didn’t recognise them, but plenty of others no doubt did.

Of course every panto needs its baddie and this was ably provided by the very butch Ugly Sisters Dave Lynn as Mel and Tim Hudson as Cheryl. The pair were sensational,often sharing scenes with Aylesbury’s own Andy Collins who was playing lovable Buttons, particularly memorably in Ghost Busters.

The wardrobe department needs a pat on the back for the sensationally over the top costumes worn by Lynn and Hudson, that included tributes to Cruella de Vil, brownies, a snowball and Christmas tree.

The comedy was provided not only by the sisters and Buttons, but also very ably by director Chris Nelson in his on stage role as Dandini.

At the Saturday evening performance a little girl called Angelina was welcomed on stage to take part in an hilarious rendition of I Am The Music Man and told everyone her favourite character was Buttons.

And the roars of approval from the auditorium suggest her opinion was shared by most of the audience.

Buttons, of course, is there to interact with the audience and get them on side. But Collins does so with such natural flair he has everyone eating out of his hands.

The stage came alight every time he stepped onto it and the audience responded with jazz hands and a roar of ‘Hello Buttons!’ especially during his legendary Twelve Days of Christmas routine during which he squirted the audience with water.

Tickets cost from £10 and there are various discounts available. Box office 0844 871 7607.

For full details of all performances, dates, times and ticket prices see www.atg,/aylesbury