REVIEW: Spellbinding panto at Bury St Edmunds theatre is an early festive treat

The Ugly Stepsisters (James Parkes and Jon de Ville) in the Theatre Royal's panto Cinderella ANL-140812-110759001

The Ugly Stepsisters (James Parkes and Jon de Ville) in the Theatre Royal's panto Cinderella ANL-140812-110759001

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As down-trodden Cinders is given one magical make-over, the stirring bars of the slightly tweaked ‘For the First Time in Forever’ from Disney hit Frozen swirl through the Theatre Royal.

Playing to a packed audience spanning the generations, this panto will be many youngsters’ first taste of theatre - and what a spellbinding introduction.

Theatre Royal Cinderella artwork ANL-140710-131416001

Theatre Royal Cinderella artwork ANL-140710-131416001

Cinderella is an early festive treat gift-wrapped with rapid fire energy, colourful hijinks and feelgood flourishes.

Helming her first production, Theatre Royal director Karen Simpson delivers a real crowd pleaser amping up the fun for all ages.

The stage is set for wry wit and slapstick humour (was that Benny Hill?), sparkling show tunes and pop staples (nods to Tangled, Ga Ga and Pharrell) plus the obligatory panto hallmarks (yes - you will boo, hiss and scream ‘they’re behind you’).

And of course there are the mistresses of chaos the Dames - two for the scene stealing price of one. Gold digging stepsisters Katy P and Lady G (James Parkes and Jon de Ville) are a gaudy neon clad vision determined to bag the Prince and maybe an unsuspecting audience member.

The talented and versatile cast pull off the gags, choreography and drama with aplomb.

Cinderella’s real magic lies in its engagement with the audience - you are part of the show as the Dames hunt for a suitor, Fairy Godmother (Sarah-Louise Young) gets you to scream at the action and other characters sprint across the theatre. There is even chance for younger members of the audience to take to the stage.

It serves as a great appetizer for the year ahead with the theatre planning further family focused works and even an Edinburgh style festival in the pipeline.

Cinderella runs until January 11.