Cinderella is in Town - We Went Along to the Ball!
On opening night of Cinderella at the Blackpool Grand Theatre, we went along to join in on the fun and enjoy the magic, and we absolutely LOVED it!
The story of Cinderella has existed in many forms over the last millennium, but the story that represents the one we know and love was written by Charles Perrault, a Frenchman, in 1697. He added the pumpkin and the fairy godmother to the story, as well as the famous glass slipper!
Interestingly, the slipper wasn’t originally intended to be made of glass at all, but fur! The French words for fur ‘vair’ and glass ‘verre’ are almost the same, but Charles figured that a glass slipper would be much less likely to stretch to accommodate another foot, and a glass one would fit only one girl perfectly.
The show’s leading lady is Milkshake’s Olivia Birchenough, and she is a perfect fit for the charming and sweeter-than-sugar Cinderella. Her voice is fantastic, she was so likeable and she held herself together marvellously whilst everyone around her was corpsing!
JJ Hamblett from Union J played the dashing Prince Charming, and his voice is every bit as incredible as we remember! He was pretty stoic throughout his performance, but it was brilliant to see him with a big smile when he gets the girl!
The ugly step-sisters are played by Jamie Morris and Tarot Joseph, and they are anything but! Jamie is definitely more comfortable with cracking jokes, but Tarot was all about ‘giving face’, and he had us in stitches without saying a word!
Melanie Walters from Gavin and Stacey plays a bubbly and air-headed Fairy Godmother, and we just fell in love with her. We loved her breezy personality and how well she connected with the audience.
But of course, our star of the show is once again Buttons - Steve Royle. Steve has performed at the Blackpool Grand Theatre panto for fifteen years, and being so well-seasoned definitely pays off. His comedic timing is impeccable and his improv skills are second to none.
As Buttons, he was so loveable, and much of the audience (ourselves included) were wiping away actual tears of laughter as a result of his performance. We’re delighted to hear that he’ll be back in 2018 for Beauty and the Beast!
The costumes were absolutely stunningly beautiful. Each one was so intricately designed and well-made that we couldn’t stop looking at them. The ugly stepsisters had on a new costume every time they came on stage, and each one was a total marvel, from the glamorous to the ludicrous . . . and we loved them all!
Well done to the talented Tarot Joseph, who in addition to playing Daisy Hardup, is the wig master for all 11 pantomimes produced by UK Productions, and the ones on stage for Cinderella were absolutely incredible; goodness knows how they sashay across the stage with three foot of hair atop their heads!
The sets were mind-blowing. The Grand Theatre isn’t the largest show venue in the world, but the rich textures and colours of the sets gave the stage so much depth. With greatly detailed sets, it was instantly apparent where the characters were, and so it was so much easier to follow the story. The set changes were really quick, too – props to the backstage team!
The music was mostly really contemporary, and so most of the audience were able to sing along to the range of great songs (with some creative lyric changes!).
It was opening night, so the audience was a little bit rusty with our “He’s behind you!” and our “Oh yes it is!” call-backs, but the cast kept the audience energy up, even without picking on (too many) people.
In this production, there are two beautiful, real-life, bright white SHETLAND PONIES. At the end of the first act as Cinderella is ready for the ball, an enormous, glittering carriage is pulled onto stage by these two little treasures (called Mikey and Zebedee) and the entire audience gasped. What a beautiful addition to the show – we loved it.
Just a bit of advice – buy the panto programme. It’s brilliant quality, and has lots of activities inside to keep little ones occupied during the interval.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the panto, and thank you very much to Blackpool Grand Theatre for having us!
Unlike the glass slipper, Cinderella is a show that fits all. Don’t be put off by not having children to bring along; the humour is pitched very much at adults as well as children, and it’s a great night out, no matter how old you are!
On at the Blackpool Grand Theatre until Sunday, 7th January 2018, this isn’t a show to be missed!