Don’t forget to laugh, clap and cheer, said the announcement before the curtain went up on Cinderella at Oundle’s Stahl Theatre; there was no chance of that happening, believe me.
It was a laugh out loud two-hour riot of fun; a bit of stand-up, plenty of slapstick... panto as it is meant to be.
Orchestrating it all was Michael Cross as the Fairygodmother, or GoMo, and by the time he had opened the show and got the audience going, there was no let-up.
He was in fine form, charming the pants of the audience, but was at his best with his old Key Theatre panto pal Simon Aylin, a very cheeky Buttons (alter ego rapper Honey B). They have a real chemistry, and their Who, What, I Don’t Know routine was not only impeccable, it was very, very funny.
Simon also wrote and directed the show - and is at the heart of everything that is good about it. Like a naughty schoolboy with a grin on his face, you are never sure what he will do next - and at times I think that includes the cast!
The Prince/Cinderella/Buttons kiss sketch was hilarious and even the much-used ghost time-filler was great fun - especially as it went a little of script and was interrupted by a heckle, much to everyone’s amusement.
But everyone got a chance to shine.
Pippa Higgs as Cinderella was warm and enchanting in her scenes with the energetic youngsters from Simon’s Oundle Performing Arts Academy. She also gelled with James Winter, who played the Prince with plenty of gusto (and a smile on his face thanks to the antics of Buttons).
His big number - Go The Distance, from Disney’s Hercules - was one of the highlights.
Even Louise Russell’s chavvy Stepmother was likeable.
Tickets (it runs until Friday) still available at www.thelittleboxoffice.com/tellingtales
Review: Brad Barnes