REVIEW: Cinderella, Theatre Royal, Newcastle
A flying horse-drawn carriage saw Cinderella arrive in spectacular panto style ... but it was a sell out Theatre Royal who had a ball.
Forget the 12 days of Christmas, this was a celebration of 12 years of Christmas for the dynamic panto duo of Danny Adams and Clive Webb.
The father and son team were in Newcastle for their 12th consecutive year, and on this showing they have lost none of the magic, mirth and mayhem that has made them the North East panto kings.
If you're impressed by pumpkins being turned into flying horse-drawn carriages, it's got nothing on how this duo cram so much entertainment into one magical evening.
The show revolves around showman stalwart Clive and motormouth Danny, a performer who can turn his hand to nigh on everything. If he wasn't milking the laughs with witty one-liners or madcap stunts, he was leaving the audience agog with his magic routines and circus tricks.
This is a panto with everything thrown into the mix. We had glittering dancing troupes, exploding pianos, slapstick paint fights, snowstorms, Catherine wheels and even a talking bear!
The supporting cast too were jostling for their moment in the limelight.
Chris Hayward, in his 10th year as the panto dame, was as gaudy as the interior of a Donald Trump elevator, enjoying his role as the dampest of all Fairy Godmothers.
His normally outrageous costumes, however, were trumped this year by the Ugly Sisters, Pete Peverley and Steve Arnott, whose awful garb was eclipsed only by their boo-inducing horridness to poor old Cinders.
If they were bawdy, and Danny and Clive barmy, it was TV's Laura Evans as Cinderella who provided the beauty ... and little girls in the audience loved it.
Special mention too must go to Will Richardson as Prince Charming and Wayne Smith as Dandini who held their own in face of constant disruptive ribbing by Buttons. Same too goes for Michael Potts as the Village Idiot, Danny's understudy and under-rated brother.
This is the company's 12th year, but it was a dirty dozen at times as Buttons sailed close to the wind with double entendres and physical humour, including a memorable violin playing scene which had the ladies screaming!
The biggest screams, however, came with the amazing special effects in the second half when the audience had to put on their 3D glasses to watch the Fairy Godmother tackle a Pandora's box of flying beasts and horrors, courtesy of The Twins FX team.
If the stunts were impressive, it was the simple things that provided the show's heart. The songs, the costumes and the panto traditions were brilliantly observed. There were at least two choruses of "oh no it isn't", plenty of shouting and booing, and a parade of cute kids grabbed from the audience who pretty much stole the show right at the end.
Another magical night at the Theatre Royal, we really did have a ball.
* Cinderella runs until Sunday January 15, 2017. Tickets are available from £13.00 and can be bought from
the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 or book online at www.theatreroyal.co.uk.