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CINDERELLA – New Wimbledon Theatre, London.

cinderella new wimbledon 2The New Wimbledon Theatre is infamous for dragging over Z-list American celebrities for their annual pantomime, with Priscilla Presley, Pamela Anderson and David Hassellhoff all taking centre stage in recent years. Now it’s Linda Grey’s (she of 80s TV show Dallas fame) turn, appearing as the Fairy Godmother in this year’s offering of Cinderella. Grey, who looks amazing at 74 in an over the top costume, unfortunately doesn’t have a clue and provides the audience with some unintentional laughs as she pauses to find her line or wanders off stage banging into the set. Why the producers didn’t cast the heavy drinking Sue-Ellen as the evil stepmother or wicked queen is beyond me. It’s a role Grey would be far more suited too and would have taken this production to a much higher entertainment level.

cinderella new wimbledon 3Elsewhere there is sterling work from Amy Lennox, as a winning Cinderella, and Liam Doyle, as her handsome prince. Both are in fine voice and give an added charm to these well-known characters. Tom Vine is a hilarious Buttons, with some of the best gags of the night and a good rapport with the audience. Bizarrely the ugly stepsisters are played by father and son team, Matthew Kelly and Matthew Rixon, in an array of dazzlingly hideous costumes. They are great, but without a wicked stepmother to bounce off or rangle them, it does feel at times as though a character is missing. Pantos do need a villain and these two don’t quite make the mark.

Eric Pott’s script has some major holes in it and isn’t as good as some of his previous offerings but when Ms Lennox begins belting the inevitable anthem from Frozen‘s ‘Let It Go’ and the snow begins to fall over the audience, one can’t help but be charmed by the glorious ridiculousness of this pantomime.

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Reviewed 09/12/14

By Rory Maxwell

Until 11th January 2014
New Wimbledon Theatre, London, SW19.

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