With twists to the traditional tale, Cinders will still go to the ball

Alnwick Theatre Club stage Cinderella at Alnwick Playhouse
Family fun with 'the sisters'.
Picture by Jane Coltman
Alnwick Theatre Club stage Cinderella at Alnwick Playhouse Family fun with 'the sisters'. Picture by Jane Coltman

Cinderella by Alnwick Theatre Club at Alnwick Playhouse.

No community would be complete without a pantomime. Whether it takes place before or after Christmas, it is always a highlight of the calendar.

Alnwick Theatre Club stage Cinderella at Alnwick Playhouse
 Members of the chorus.
Picture by Jane Coltman

Alnwick Theatre Club stage Cinderella at Alnwick Playhouse Members of the chorus. Picture by Jane Coltman

If you’ve been to an Alnwick Theatre Club panto before you’ll know there is always plenty of laughter, fun and a twist on the traditional fairy tale, and this year’s production of Cinderella did not disappoint.

Written by director Sophie Towers, it is set in the village of Wick. But in this village Cinders isn’t the beautiful princess.

Rather there was a role reversal, with Cinders as the not-so-pretty daughter of Baron Hardoneby, played by the usual panto dame, and fantastic Jimmy Dodds, and her Prince Charming, played by the superb Helen Gee.

Continuing the twist, Cinders’ ‘ugly’ step-sisters, played by Julie Vint and Susan Joyce, were very pretty and ever-so annoying.

Alnwick Theatre Club stage Cinderella at Alnwick Playhouse
Prince Charming and Buttons.
Picture by Jane Coltman

Alnwick Theatre Club stage Cinderella at Alnwick Playhouse Prince Charming and Buttons. Picture by Jane Coltman

And, of course, Cinders’ simpleton best friend Buttons, played by the brilliant Peter Lewis, is always there to support her.

With cameo appearances from the great and good of children’s characters, the show was a myriad of colour, comedy, double entendre and a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon’s viewing.

Jimmy Dodds made a brilliant Cinderella, granted he wasn’t the prettiest princess, but his performance, as always, was spot-on, fabulously funny, camp and garish.

However, Peter Lewis has to be my favourite. He was just brilliant.

Funny, but simple, ad-libbing, interactive and a lovable character – my four-year-old date to the show said she wanted to give him a hug!

Fairy Godfather Peter Biggers was the sparkliest and campest fairy.

Evil Stepmother Baroness Hardoneby, played by Carol Lawrence, was fabulously evil and certainly extracted a few boos from the audience.

One of my favourite scenes is what I’d call a child’s ‘best dinner party’. As guests enjoy the Prince’s ball, King Dick the Third hosts his own dinner party – with Peppa Pig, Iggle Piggle, Paddington Bear and Shrek as his guests.

The musical talents of some of the cast leave a little to be desired, but the renditions of Umbrella, The Time of My Life and Dance, Dance, Dance were brilliant nonetheless.

And the dancers from the Alnwick Academy of Dancing were simply fantastic.

They danced with poise and precision and gracefully flowed around the stage.

The show gave out the message that the underdog can get their happy ever after if they want it.

All in all, a blooming brilliant show yet again, perfect for all the family.

Catch it tonight, tomorrow and Saturday. See www.alnwickplayhouse.co.uk