Basildon Evening Echo
CINDERELLA at the Towngate is a glittering spectacle of happy endings, amazing effects and good old fashioned panto humour – oh, yes it is!
These days it’s more important to know you’re getting value for money, but this is a show that’s definitely worth shelling out for and one I reckon adults will enjoy just as much as the kids.
The pantomime is billed as a “modern and mischievous take on the classic tale of Cinderella” and it certainly lives up to the hype with plenty of well known pop songs, celebrity jokes and even a wonderful take on Strictly Come Dancing, where Buttons dances with the ugly sisters at the ball.
Stars of the show are Simon Fielding as a near perfect Buttons while pint-sized American TV actress Sandra Dickinson plays up her famous squeaky voice to the max as the Fairy Godmother. She plays her part to perfection, getting plenty of laughs along with the way with jokes, such as: “We went on a tour of Basildon’s famous sites. We left the station at quarter to and were back by five past.” The line certainly tickled the mums and dads in the audience.
What makes the production work most of all is the content of the show has two levels, one for children and one for adults meaning there’s no time for anyone to get bored. Also, although it does have elements of the traditional pantomime in parts, it’s pretty hard to predict what’s coming next, something I was pleasantly surprised by. For me the highlight of the show was a lavish special effect you’d expect to see in the West End rather than at a provincial theatre. Youngsters watched in awe as a spectacular white horse levitates over the stage to fly Cinders to her date with Prince Charming at the ball. How they managed it and how much it cost, I couldn’t even guess, but it definitely added a dose of magic to what was already an enchanting show.