The Harlequin’s production is the cream of the crop.
A kind and sparkly Fairy Godmother, pumpkin’s turning into carriages, a beautiful heroine and her handsome Prince Charming. The Harlequin’s 2022 production does not stray too far from the well-loved, original story.
There is an array of singing and dancing, Blur fans are in for a treat – Eddie the Eagle (Baron Hard-up) singing Country House is post-modernism at its very best. There are corny jokes which leave adults in fits of laughter whilst kids look on in bemusement, local references, Christmas cheer and in a first for pantomime, a recreation of Eddie the Eagle’s infamous ski-jump at the 1988 Calgary Olympics.
The curtain opens on Rebecca Wheatley’s kindly fairy godmother. The cast members reeled out in quick succession, including the talented local young dancers. Special kudos to them.
The audience sang along, clapped, laughed, stamped, hissed and joined in with great gutso. Redhill stalwart and firm favourite Si Basford (Dandini) was given his usual warm welcome. His familiar costumes of sky-scrapper heels and rainbow beehives passing to the Uglies (Dean Horner & Oliver Gray), who make their debut Harlequin appearance -hopefully not their last.
Buttons and co marched on stage, waving flags and singing Vindaloo to celebrate England’s World Cup journey and what would a Harlequin panto be without the ghost segment? The bang up to date and familiar rituals that are the essential ingredients of a fabulous pantomime.
The star of the show is Phil Reid’s energetic and zesty Buttons who is still profoundly in love with Cinderella. He sings, raises the hugest laughs and performs the rapidest of costume changes, sometimes without time to tie his laces. He is a confident Maite d’pantomime, offering thanks to the backstage crew and warning the audience of the snow.
The finale sees the entire cast on stage performing Wizard’s I wish it could be Christmas Every Day. With a pantomime as magical and entertaining as Cinderella, we can only hope this wish comes true.
Cinderella, The Harlequin Theatre Redhill until 31st December. Click here for box office.
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