REVIEW: Cinderella at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre’s panto is back with a bang as Cinderella brings fun, fantasy, adventure to the stage.

AD: Press night / gifted tickets

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

For me, Christmas isn’t the same without the panto, which is one of the many reasons why the holiday season felt a little less jolly last year.

But with panto’s given the go-ahead, Wolverhampton Grand’s Cinderella can finally invite guests to the ball, and it’s an absolute triumph.

Panto’s are synonymous with a British Christmas; get them right, and they’ll be the talk of the town – or city in this case. Cinderella has been in the wings at The Grand for two years now after the pandemic forced theatres to close their doors across the country last Christmas, but this is a panto that was truly worth the wait.

With a cast featuring brothers AJ and Curtis Pritchard as Prince Charming and Dandini, Denise Pearson as the Fairy Godmother, CBBC’s Evie Pickerill as Cinderella, Tam Ryan as Buttons and Ian Adams as Dame Penny Pockets, there’s no doubt that Cinderella’s packed with talent.

The Pritchard brothers are perfectly at home in Pantoland. While it’s no surprise that they excel in the dance routines (AJ is a former Strictly Come Dancing pro, while Curtis appeared as a pro in Dancing With the Stars) they also bring plenty of gusto to the stage in their acting. Curtis also has a fantastic singing voice and looked pretty comfortable in his role of Dandini.

Evie Pickerill makes for a perfect Cinderella. She uses her presenting skills to her advantage to interact with young children in the crowd, but equally takes on songs and fast-paced dance routines with ease.

Ian Adams as Dame Penny Pockets, Curtis Pritchard as Dandini and Tam Ryan as Buttons. Credit: Tim Thursfield.

Of course, Denise Pearson is fantastic as the Fairy Godmother, as is Julie Stark in her role as the Wicked Step-Mother. Ella Biddlecombe and Britt Lentin as step-sisters Tess and Claudia are hilarious as the spiteful step-sisters who have been brought into the modern era with ‘careers’ as social influencers.

For me, though, Tam Ryan and Ian Adams absolutely stole the show in bringing this panto well and truly to life. Their 12 Days of Christmas sketch, together with Dandini, is utterly chaotic and one of the best parts of the show.

I’ve seen Adams multiple times when he’s stepped into his iconic Dame roles at Lichfield Garrick, so it came as no surprise that he was just as hilarious in this panto too.

Ryan is a panto king, there are no two ways about it. Quick off the mark with witty humour, he’s an incredibly talented actor who I’m sure will win over the hearts of audiences during Cinder’s run.

It would be wrong to praise the cast and not give the same to those working behind the scenes.

Evie Pickerill as Cinderella at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. Credit Tim Thursfield

Cinderella is a visual spectacle. Gone are the wooden props, and in comes a stunning set design with built-in screens to set and change the scenes with ease.

Equally, the show has been written incredibly well. Jokes are perfectly timed and intertwined with the classic Cinder’s storyline to create a panto that hits the right notes for all ages. Plus, it’s packed with audience interaction for everyone to get involved with – just bring a coat with you if you find yourself sitting in the front row of the stalls and dress circle!

A masterpiece and a joy to watch that will have you crying with laughter, Cinderella is panto at its very best.

Cinderella runs at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre until Sunday, January 9, 2022. Click here to book tickets.

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