"lots of glamour, wonderful singing"
by Aline Waites for remotegoat on 30/11/18

Welcome back to John Savournin as Dame Betty, mother of Cinderella in this year's pantomime at the Kings Head. Betty is not the evil stepmother we are accustomed to, but is a huge bossy but kind woman with a yearning for PC Pumpkin. John Savournin is of course magnificent with his resounding bas voice and perfect legs to die for, but be warned, is unable to be on at every performance as Jamie Barwood takes over occasionally. Jamie Barwood was recently in 'Hamilton' in Edinburgh in addition to many panto performances.

The Dame's love interest is

PC Pumpkin played by Andrea Tweedale who looks extremely handsome in police uniform with a very fetching moustache.

For 2018/19 panto, the star name is Buttons, usually the page boy famously in love with Cinders, but in this case Buttons is a huge Teddy Bear who loves Cinders but, being a toy is unable to tell her so. Luckily he has a Fairy Godfather – a Puppet refugee from the Marlon Brando movie – so things get a chance of working out in the end.

Of course Cinders – sweetly played in soprano by the Eleanor Sanderon-Nash – is really longing to meet the Prince Charming she has heard of and is therefore easily charmed by a Prince (Jennie Jacobs with a small beard and a red coat with enormous shoulders) who is not exactly the kind we – and Cinders - usually expect – and his cohort Dandini played by Emily Cairns is also not what he seems

This a clever version of the old story when nothing turns out the way it always used to/All is unexpected . The only constant character being the sweet little heroine who is so easily duped by tales she has heard of the old fairy stories.

There are a couple of standard panto scenes – a pastry scene which heavily involves the audience and a ghost scene which doesn't quite work. Maybe it is sometimes better to take on board the old things that are always a success rather than trying to do them differently.

John Savournin is responsible for the direction as well as the script and David Eaton is music director and lyricist. The big production number which I enjoyed enormously when all seven cast members perform the Bohemian Rhapsody which cleverly illuminates and contributes to the story.

A hilarious Pantomime for all ages. Silly jokes, lots of glamour, wonderful singing and a few bits of rude.

The first of the season and well within in the wonderful Charles Court Opera tradition.

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