With a star-studded cast the running gag in Cinderella is Nigel Havers butting into scenes asking if he can have more lines. A consequence of all the big names is that by the time they’ve all had chance to do their thing, there’s not so much time left for the plot.
But this is more than made up for by the lavish spectacle. A Palladium Panto is a thing of legend for most people or, at best, a distant memory for others. In its day it attracted stars like Julie Andrews, Cliff Richard and Ronnie Corbett. So this revival of the tradition has a lot to live up to. It appears to have done so, with another panto – Dick Whittington – already confirmed for December. Tickets are now on sale!
Spectacular, fun and looking like a Disney show, there wasn’t a space on the costumes for another crystal. The show sparkled and was full of stars. Julian Clary’s costumes were as outrageous as the man himself. Paul O’Grady as the wicked stepmother was so convincing that I am sure younger members of the audience believe he was a woman. Lee Mead singing ‘Any Dream Will Do’ brought back many happy memories of when I saw him in Joseph. His voice was just as enthralling as ever and wowed the crowd.
Amanda Holden performed her duties as Fairy Godmother with sparkle and elegance. The younger members of the audience were really wowed Sam the puppet, which kept them entertained throughout the show. But the highlight for many was the flying horses and carriage, which was definitely a moment to remember. My admiration must go to Nigel Havers who squeezed every drop of empathy from the audience in a relatively small part. His desperate need for more lines made us hope throughout the show that he was going to get a starring moment. And he did!
Cult favourite Count Arthur Strong, as Cinderella’s father, was warm and likeable whilst still retaining his peculiar and unique world view.
The first panto at the Palladium for 30 years, this certainly provided a fantastic and special night out.