9-31 December 2016
Reviewed by Deborah Banasko
What an amazing family night out! Packed with everything you’d expect from a pantomime, with extra quirks and laughs. I took my 5 year old daughter and was a little concerned that a 7pm showing may be too much for her, yet she did not stop giggling throughout and remained enthralled until the very end.
I have been to this theatre previously and always feel it’s in a great location, 5 minutes walk away from a multi-storey car-park in Huddersfield town centre. The exterior of the building is grand, and very modern inside with a lovely bar area. It is a small theatre, so there isn’t a huge seating area within the bar, and there could perhaps be a few more toilets, but it is charming. What was particularly nice was the projection of the “Cinderella” graphics (from the programme) onto the building opposite, and the sale of flashing light toys for the children.
The main auditorium is designed so that it would be impossible to have a restricted view I am sure. The set looked great and well designed too!
The staff were so friendly – as we were getting seated one of the ushers asked whether my daughter would like a booster seat which was a great help. The same lady sold ices during the interval, so I had one happy 5 year old!
The story was a twist on the traditional tale of Cinderella, as it centred on Ella from Huddersfield. The Prince of Dewsbury was passing through Huddersfield, and the Fairy Godmother orchestrated an incident which meant that the Prince would have to remain in town for a short while. He needed an assistant during his stay, and meets Dandini who persuades him to trade places with him so that the Prince may experience a normal life and perhaps learn how to talk to the opposite sex. This leads to a chance meeting with Ella…. and well, you know the rest I’m sure!
This show is filled with the cheesy gags that you want from a pantomime, outrageous Ugly Sisters outfits and traditional audience participation throughout. However, what made this stand out was the northern humour – lines that themselves were not especially hilarious but the delivery and timing were just perfect. The scenes were the Fairy Godmother was in disguise were just brilliant. Another stand-out moment was the bathroom scene with the Ugly Sisters re-enacting various movie scenes, as it was something I had never seen in a pantomime before (and I have seen many!)
The cast was small, just 7 main characters with 6 young supporting actors/dancers. For me the star of the show was Natasha Magigi, who played the Fairy Godmother and Baroness Hardup. She transitioned seamlessly between roles and was just so effortless and witty. The entire cast were clearly having fun and interacted well with the audience. At the start an audience member was “picked on”, then throughout the show every character made a reference to her in relation to what was occurring on stage, which was just genius!
Both the Prince and Cinderella were portrayed in a different way than what we have come to expect; the Prince a little shy and self-conscious, whilst Cinderella didn’t come across as the brightest of individuals but this seemed to be intentional. It was quite refreshing to experience a different take on a classic tale, pardon the clique.
The choice of music was great- from modern day numbers to “head, shoulder, knees and toes” which made my daughters night!
Personally, I have always been to larger theatres during pantomime season as I assumed I would get a better show. Tonight proved me wrong, as the performance kept my daughter and I giggling and thoroughly entertained from the offset. Every actor was 100% on form, there were no lulls in the pace; it really was just about the laughs and being silly! I would give the show 5 stars out of 5 as I came away feeling thoroughly entertained and really in the Christmas spirit.
Tickets cost from £10 to £17 (booking fees may apply).
Cinderella is at the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield until 31 December 2016. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 01484 430528.
Lawrence Batley Theatre, Queen’s Square, Queen Street, Huddersfield, HD1 2SP