The Birmingham Hippodrome’s pantomime for 2017 and into 2018 is an all-star, sparkling production of Cinderella. Whilst the story stays true to the well-loved fairytale, this is the only traditional element of the show. Brimming with special effects, pop songs and outrageous humour, Cinderella really goes the extra mile to keep pantomime alive and relevant in the modern world.
As is customary for any self-respecting, big budget pantomime, this Cinderella boasts an all-star cast. Suzanne Shaw is a sweet and innocent Cinderella, whilst a suave Danny Mac shines with multiple opportunities to show off his dancing talents honed during Strictly Come Dancing. Ceri Dupree and David Dale dazzle in the ludicrous costumes of ugly sisters Voluptua and Verruca, although their performances are strangely forced and robotic at times.
Birmingham favourite Matt Slack is the life and soul of the party as Buttons, with his extremely quick and clever comic routines and brilliant rapport with the audience. However, the star of the show for me was Beverly Knight as the Fairy Godmother, with her incredible soul voice and bewitching stage presence.
The special effects are eye-poppingly spectacular and completely over the top. Gone are the slightly disappointing 3D effects used in last year’s Dick Whittington, and, in their place, we are treated to some of the best flying effects I have ever experienced. Cinderella’s glittering coach and animatronic horses soar over the audience, seemingly unsupported, as if by real magic.
However, some of the most memorable moments have nothing to do with the star-studded cast or expensive special effects. From spraying an unsuspecting audience with super soakers, to Matt Slack’s comedic puns and physical humour, and super slick dance numbers performed by the excellent ensemble, Cinderella features all of the ingredients for the perfect panto.
More than any Birmingham Hippodrome pantomime I have previously experienced, Cinderella uses a very adult style of humour and many jokes will mean nothing to younger audience members. For grown-ups, it’s an excellent festive night out which leaves you crying with laughter. There is a more family-friendly offering in the Hippodrome’s Patrick Centre in Tall Stories’ The Snow Dragon, on until Sunday 7 January.
Cinderella is on at Birmingham Hippodrome until Sunday 28 January and tickets are available here.