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Cinderella, at the Corn Exchange, Newbury until January 2. Review by ROBIN STRAPP

It’s that time of year again and panto is back at the Corn Exchange, bigger and better than ever, with enthusiastic youngsters and their parents eagerly anticipating this year’s Cinderella, written by Claire Plested and Adam Brown, who also directs.

This well-known rags to riches story is given a fresh new vibrant interpretation in this fun filled fast paced show.

Susan Harrison, Justin Brett, Chloe Gentles & Ali James (picture Adam Hillier)
Susan Harrison, Justin Brett, Chloe Gentles & Ali James (picture Adam Hillier)

Jade Johnson is the cheeky Fairy Liquid, determined to clean up the village.

Chloe Gentles sparkles with energy, giving a stellar performance as poor Cinderella who is under the thumb of her stepsisters, played by Susan Harrison and Ali James hooked on snap chat and other apps.

Forced to do housework all day she dreams of a new life. Perhaps a chance meeting with an old lady in the woods might secure her future?

Cinderella ©The Other Richard
Cinderella ©The Other Richard

Every panto needs a Dame and Justin Brett as Lady Barbara Hardup fits the bill and the ever growing outrageous costumes perfectly.

William Beckerleg as Prince Charming dreams of poetry and love. He meets Cinders in the wood and falls instantly in love but she disappears.

His trusty Stewart Deldini – think of Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses – and you have his character decide to change places in the pursuit of finding the girl.

Cinderella, Chloe Gentles ©The Other Richard
Cinderella, Chloe Gentles ©The Other Richard

Party invitations are delivered for the Prince’s ball but Cinderella is tricked into tearing hers up by her sisters.

Her Fairy Godmother comes to the rescue and, in a magical transformation scene, she travels to the ball wearing a spectacular dress in a sparkling coach.

However, she must be home by midnight and in her rush to depart she loses a shoe which starts the Prince’s quest to once again find and marry her.

Jordan Benjamin and Rachel Breeze provide strong support in the ensemble.

The beautiful colourful sets and costumes are a delight and the songs and choreography are impressive.

With oodles of audience participation, local references and groan-making puns this is a joyous panto hit that shouldn’t be missed.

Cinderella ©The Other Richard
Cinderella ©The Other Richard
William Beckerleg and Chloe Gentles (picture Adam Hillier)
William Beckerleg and Chloe Gentles (picture Adam Hillier)


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