Thank you to the New Theatre Cardiff for inviting us along in exchange for this review.
TV star Gok Wan joins Mike Doyle and Ceri Dupree to star in the fairy godmother of all pantomimes at the New Theatre Cardiff.
The New Theatre is one of many theatres to entertain audiences in Cardiff, and it’s so nice to see this family tradition continue as the theatre celebrates its 113th birthday. For many families, including my own, attending a pantomime at this time of the year marks the start of the festive season. The venue as always, was beautifully decorated with the help of Cardiff and Vale College students for this year’s panto.
The rags to riches story of Cinderella is something of a classic, and it’s lovely to see this performance stay true to the storyline with its own modern twist of slapstick comedy and integration of hit tunes such as Pure Imagination. There were also plentiful of references to Welsh superstars Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey, and not forgetting quips to the rivalry between Cardiff and Swansea, which is all a bit of fun.
What’s great about panto is its unpredictability. Whether it’s from audience participation, with younger members of the crowd wishing to start a witch a hunt for the ugly sisters, or the fairy Gokmother almost taking someone out with toilet roll – it’s full of laughs. With Cinderella on until Sunday 12th January, it’s nice to know these off-script moments will make each performance unique.
If you’ve attended a panto in recent years, you’ll be familiar with dame royalty in the form of returning legend Mike Doyle and the hilariously fabulous Ceri Dupree as The Ugly Sisters. They are pure family entertainment; they’ll have the children laughing, as well as the adults, and perhaps have some members of the audience wincing into their seats.
Cinderella’s loveable best friend Buttons, played by comedian and magician Phil Butler, is another character that you won’t want to miss. I should say that he will be hard to miss, as Buttons is right there to keep everyone on track, ensuring that Cinders does get to go to the ball.
The Fairy Gokmother, offering helpful style tips to The Ugly Sisters and creating the most magical ball gown in town for dear Cinderella, adds to the magic of the performance.
Credit has to be given to the excellent performance and vocals by Cinderella, performed by Teleri Hughes, a former student of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. There were a few moments when I thought there may have been some sound issues, as the vocals didn’t come through quite as strong, but these were quickly overcome.
Rob Wilshaw as Prince Charming also stood out with his professional acting and vocal skills. As a theatre regular, you may recognise him from his performance in Cinderella at Swansea’s Grand Theatre.
Overall, we throughly enjoyed this year’s pantomime at the New Theatre in Cardiff.
The clock is ticking! Don’t miss your chance to see Cinderella, book your tickets to the Ball today!
Cinderella, starring Gok Wan, Mike Doyle, Ceri Dupree and Phil Butler sashays into Cardiff’s New Theatre from Saturday 7 December until Sunday 12 January 2020. Tickets, priced from £19 are available from newtheatrecardiff.co.uk or on 029 2087 8889.