REVIEW – Cinderella at Theatre Royal Stratford East

When I was invited to review Cinderella at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, I was a tiny bit dubious. I always feel that, as a reviewer, panto is a bit of a minefield. Too much cheese and you cringe the whole way through, not enough cheese and it’s not a panto – know what I mean?

Cinderella did not disappoint on any count! There was plenty of cheese to be had and plenty of interaction for kids and adults alike, but the story flowed nicely and the songs were a pleasure to listen to. The show easily sucked children in to the first half with a little introduction from Buttons (Stephen Lloyd) and then in the second half by allowing the audience to bat around giant balloons! Great fun!

I worried about the fact that this particular panto had original songs (as for me panto is often about the cheesy covers!) but the songs were fantastic and easy to sing along to. I particularly enjoyed the song that the hilarious fairy godmother (Sandra Bee) taught everyone and was singing it for days afterwards! Cinderella was played beautifully by Ayesha Antoine and her rather confused prince by Craig Storrod.

There really is nothing like a dame – and this panto had three of them! Michael Bettenshaw played the stepmother who the audience took great pleasure in booing at every opportunity – except for when she was handing out sweeties of course! And step sisters Sugary and Spicy were played by Marcus Ellard and Darren Hart respectively.

All in all I thought this was one of the best pantomimes I have seen in a while and would not hesitate in recommending it children of any age! Even big kids like myself. I guarantee you will have a great night at the theatre with a laugh a minute. The show is fabulously up to date, which makes the laughs come even faster. It’s a bargain as well with tickets from only £10!

A little word about the theatre – The Theatre Royal Stratford East is a producing theatre in Stratford East London. I definitely think this theatre is going to become more popular than it already is during the Olympics because of its proximity to the Olympic site and the new Westfield Shopping Centre. If you’re in the area, be sure to pop in and see a show – you won’t be disappointed.

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