This is the first time I’ve seen this pantomime and I found it very enjoyable to watch the story my children once loved leap from the pages of their Ladybird book and on to the stage.
Ralph (Rachel Brennan) is the shoemaker in the fairytale village of Lower Bottoms.
His footwear is of such high quality that customers don’t return for new ones because they never wear out.
However ... this isn’t good for business!
His shop is struggling, his last lies idle and his spirits are low.
Enter his Fairy Godmother (Hannah Liddle) disguised as an old woman; she hands him her old boots ... not telling him that they are magic!
In return Ralph gives her his last remaining newly-made pair and thus begins his transformation from poor cobbler to Royal Shoemaker.
Endeavouring to cancel out the Fairy’s good magic is her sister, Prada (Kim Brookfield), an excellent baddie revelling in boos from the audience.
Flip (Laina Grimshaw-Brown) and Flop (Steven Catterall) handle the comedy extremely well joined by Dame Gucci (Andy Burke) - mother to eight elves who live in one of the magic boots.
Invitations to the royal ball arrive from the Prince (Ciaran O’Brien) and his Aide (James Clow) where the Dame falls in love with the Baron (Alan Levesley) and Ralph finally gets his sweetheart, Anna (Gemma Nightingale).
Prada changes from wicked to good and all ends well with the red, gold and silver wedding scene.
Paul Carr is to be congratulated on the sets, sound and lighting as well as his fresh script and innovative direction.
Kate Burke’s choreography is a joy – especially in the non-stop dance medley towards the end which is a riot of energy.Glorious costumes, great special effects, adorable elves with a talented cast and chorus make this a charming seasonal show.