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Cinderella – Tyldesley Little Theatre

The familiar tale of Cinderella is brought to life as Tyldesley Little Theatre present their annual panto. The pre-set of having the curtain open with the glass slipper displayed was a nice touch and set the scene well.

As the curtains opened, a scrim cloth was in place, adding an atmospheric air as cast placed behind were in freeze position whilst the Fairy Godmother, better known as Fairy G, delivered the prologue. Chloe Thomas plays a delightful, or should I say “cool” Fairy G.

Gemma Manfredi as Buttons was spot on. She clicked with the audience straight away, keeping them on side, and she delivered the role with the right amount of naivety, which is needed for this role. Alex Haymes is an enchanting Cinderella, transforming beautifully from rags into ball gown. With the ability to present fine vocals too, this was an all-round cracking performance. 

The Brokers men, Bodget and Leggett try, without success to evict the Baron from Hardship Hall. All their attempts fail, but Andrea Peters and Sally Mason didn’t fail in nailing this double act. Working well together throughout, we were waiting for next mishap! It was well done.

The ugly sisters are not easy parts to play. They can be overplayed, underplayed and it is not often you get them just right. However, TLT have played a blinder by casting Cameron Rowe as Grizelda and Cathryn Hughes as Gertrude. From the first entrance to the final bow, they had energy, enthusiasm, and most of all comedy timing. They were loud, brash, in your face – you name it, they were it, and the audience loved it. Their performances bounced off the stage, into the audience and back again. They proved to be great at acrobatics too! – Fantastic.

Baron Hardup was played with a downtrodden demeanour by TLT favourite Ian Hunter. Well characterised and an adequate foil for Alexis Hollis, who makes the most of being The Baroness, hoping to get her hands on the Barons fortune, which he does not have!  

Danny Tooby displays a handsome Prince, complete with obligatory thigh slap and is ably assisted by Jake Little who is an equally dashing Dandini. Their number with the ugly sisters, “Why did it have to be me” was a showstopper.

Tom Allen as Chambers, the equerry, kept royal proceedings in place. Hagan the Horse (Laura Solski and Lindsay Taylor) provided the “cute” factor, and the audience raised the roof in the stalking scene, as the ghost (Lindsay Taylor) frightened everyone away, apart from the ugly sisters, who in turn frighted off the ghost!

Backed by a Fabulous chorus and played on a top-quality set, this production was one not to have been missed. Choreographer Chloe Thomas kept the company on their toes with some excellent routines backed superbly by Musical Director Martin Taylor. Wardrobe mistress, Margaret Speakes has excelled with the costume design for this panto. Each cast member well dressed and befitting the character. The costumes were outstanding. Simply stunning outfits for the ugly sisters. I lost count of how many changes they had, but each costume as wonderful as the last.

From start to finish, this panto has pace, and a real feel of panto, mainly due to the standard of comedic delivery and obvious clear and stylised direction from Connor Parkinson.

Congratulations TLT – a real great night’s entertainment of quality live theatre.

Paul Cohen – BATS  09/12/22