Review: Cinderella, at Birmingham Hippodrome
* * * * *
After a few disappointing or merely quite good years, the Hippodrome panto returns to blistering form with a magical production of Cinderella.
It helps that it stars Brian Conley in his fifth Hippo panto.
He feels at home on the stage and commands it with ease, whether making fun of people in the first few rows or dealing with the children that come up for an hilarious singalong, a tradition that has sadly been forgotten in recent years.
Cinderella has everything – clever slapstick, song and dance numbers, colourful sets, magic tricks, silly jokes for kids and sly ones for adults.
Oh, and FOUR different kinds of horses on stage, only one of which is a pantomime nag.
Lynda Bellingham makes an assured panto debut, striking just the right note as the Fairy Godmother.
Basil Brush is fun and makes topical jokes about Little Mix and fakery on Frozen Planet.
Ugly Sisters Martin Ramsdin and David Robbins have a glittering array of costumes, from chandeliers and Angry Birds to a Christmas pudding hat. They’re suitably evil, and they’re called Kelly and Tulisa.
Talking of TV talent shows, Buttons enters Birmingham’s Got Talent, which necessitates a very funny spoof VT and input from Ant and Dec.
Matthew Goodgame and Dan Burton are good singers but fail to make much of a mark as Prince Charming and Dandini.
There aren’t any weak links, though. This really is a cracker of a show.
* Cinderella continues until January 29.