REVIEW: Rude pantomime fun and games at Preston's Charter Theatre

The cast of Cinderalla
The cast of Cinderalla

Cinderella was a recipe of both triumph and tragedy.

The starter was an enjoyable concoction of wicked humour, audience participation, flamboyant costumes and singing.

It was clear the actors, who include TV channel Nick Jr’s children's pop band ‘Go!Go!Go!’ stars Jade Natalie and Carl Tracey, put their all into the energetic performance alongside a cast that included Charlie Cairoli Jr, son of the famous Lancashire clown Charlie Cairoli.

Flawless singing, beautiful dancing - especially from the children in the cast - and wit made it easy to warm to the characters, and there were raucous cries from the children as loveable character Buttons fired a loaded water pistol at the audience.

READ MORE: Performance dates, times and prices: what you need to know about Preston pantomime

The first act was also peppered with lots of clever references to the local area - the fairy godmother quipping she came from the 'magical land of Leyland'.

Sadly like any good recipe, if you start to throw too many ingredients for the sake of it, it soon becomes overbaked.

Set two seemed to lose its focus of what it should have been - a family themed Christmas panto - and appeared it was trying to become more of a musical.

There were attempts at introducing traditional key ingredients to a panto, like custard pies, the 'It's behind you' scenes and cries of 'Oh no she didn't'.

But at times it felt some scenes were either unnecessarily dragged out or irrelevant - including a sketch about an invisible bowling ball. Even the custard pie scene went on a bit too long.

Although the performance had lots of plus points, and went down well in the first half, by the end the show seemed to drift and was hitting nearly three hours and my yawning children were itching to leave.

I enjoy dirty jokes as much as the next person.

The Ugly Sisters in particular were hilarious, but some of the adult innuendos, particularly in front of little children in the audience dressed in their Cinderella outfits, were a bit too close to the bone for what I had believed was a traditional child friendly Christmas panto.

All undoubtedly very funny, but the kind of things that may prompt awkward questions from older children, even if they go over the heads of younger guests!

In summary if you want a witty and cheeky panto-meets-musical, with adult jokes and slapstick comedy, grab a ticket now because it ticks the boxes.

But if a clean, family friendly Christmas panto with your little princess or prince is more your style, you may want to think twice!


STEF HALL