Monday, April 22

Cinderella – New Wimbledon Theatre

Pantomime season is back and this year you shall go to the ball! Craig Revel Horwood stars as Cinderella’s Wicked Stepmother in this fresh and colourful version of Cinderella set in the great land of Wimbledon.

We are introduced to the characters of the show in a bold and modern number describing the local area of Wimbledon. The set is bold and remnant of a fairy tale, with everything you’d expect for a pantomime. The grand staircase used for the palace is impressive and fitting, with the decoration of the wings adding to the grandeur. Cinderella’s carriage at the end of the first act is a stunning surprise, leaving audience members in magical disbelief.

Our narrator of the show is Buttons (Pete Firman) who is exceptional at holding the audience’s attention, both children and adults, with his cheerful demeanour, magic tricks and of course, audience interaction. His moments between scenes are memorable, and he leans into the pantomime slapstick comedy expertly. The humour is taken to another level when he pretends the mishaps on stage are not part of the script, generating raucous laughter from the audience.

The ensemble are a huge asset to this production, each member throwing their heart and soul into the action. The dance numbers are hugely enjoyable to experience, with the multiple dance styles including tap and ballroom showcasing the enormous talent amongst the cast. The opening of the second act is particularly memorable, with the ensemble performing a ‘fab-u-lous’ piece of choreography with Horwood himself joining in on the action. With colourful, camp and amusing costumes, including pumpkin heads and full body polar bear costumes, this energy of this ensemble is the driving force behind the production.

While Cinderella (Cassie Compton) and Prince Charming (Soloman Davy) were unusually not the stars of the show, their story kept bringing the audience back to a focal point, making the action flow well. Their romantic duet is perfectly harmonised, their voices complementing each other and providing for a welcome change of pace. Unfortunately, the music at times was a little too loud, slightly drowning out the cast’s voices and song lyrics.

Horwood really had a chance to ‘revel’ in his character, bringing a new lease of life and soul to the Stepmother and the stage. The show leans into Strictly Come Dancing seamlessly, adding to the jest of Horwood’s character. When The Stepmother gives Cinderella the invitation to the Ball and forces her to rip it up, Horwood’s characterisation stoops to a new level of cruel which is both heart-breaking and magnificent to watch. His interactions with Cinderella’s ugly stepsisters (Leanne Jones and Catherine Morris) are effortlessly funny and equally as brutal.

For a story that has been told many times, this version of Cinderella does well to bring new and innovative ways to keep the story exciting, enchanting and fun for all the family this Christmas. Expect brilliant entertainment, laughter, surprise and maybe even a sprinkle of snow!

Performances of Cinderella are showing until 7th January 2024 with more information and tickets to be found at: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/cinderella/new-wimbledon-theatre/

Reviewer: Maani Way

Reviewed: 11th December 2023

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★

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