REVIEW: You shall go to the ball! Cinderella at the Floral Pavilion

Lee Latchford-Evans steps into the shoes of Prince Charming as Bethan Jacks loses hers in Cinderella at the Floral Pavilion.

Panto is not generally known for its genre-inverting innovation, and this one certainly stuck to the tried and tested formula: some singing, some dancing, some water pistol action, men in drag innuendo-ing some poor bloke in the front row and a random but somehow essential, and actually quite amusing, ghost sketch.

In addition, we had real-life miniature ponies pulling a Disney-perfect Cinders in a powder puff of blue sparkles in a fairytale coach which, seen through the eyes of my inner five-year old, was truly beautiful.

Cbeebies Nina and the Neurons’ Katrina Bryan gave an adept performance as the Fairy Godmother and Sean Jones’ Buttons handled the obligatory tots from the audience with gentle humour and quick wit.

But it was six-year-old Josh Cubbins who stole the show, telling us that he was getting a shark for Christmas. A shark that eats cars. (Good luck with that one, Family Cubbins!)

But it wasn’t just that this was a seriously surreal comic moment. It was, I think, at this point that the cast actually began to relax. A panto needs the structure to be formulaic but the performance to feel spontaneous, and it was young Josh’s star turn that brought to the fore a touch of the underlying anarchy that pushes the ordinary into the special.

I can’t promise you a Josh Cubbin every show but sometimes it’s when things go a little bit wrong that the whole thing starts to feel right.

Cinderella is at the Floral Pavilion, New Brighton, until Monday 2 January 2023.

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