Theatre Review: Cinderella @ The Buxton Opera House

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There is no certainty that snow will fall to give us a much-loved white Christmas. However, there is a guarantee that the High Peak will glisten with the magic of Buxton Opera House’s special stardust following the opening of its panto season.

Renowned for the quality of its seasonal offerings, this production of Cinderella has the capability to outshine them all.

The traditional favourite follows the usual storyline. The downtrodden Cinderella (Georgia Gallagher) suffers at the hands of her Ugly Sisters Tess (James Lamb) and Claudia (David Dale) and, despite the support of her friend Buttons (Aidan Bailey) and his pet Buns (Felix Price), she dreams of meeting a handsome young man to take her out of her misery.

Fortunately, an act of kindness means that she has the support of the Fairy Godmother (Charlotte Hannah Jones) and a chance meeting with a disguised Prince (Ross Clifton) – who has swapped roles with his servant Dandini (Beth Gourlay) – gives a hint of romance in the air.

Despite her sisters doing their worst, Cinders is able to make a grand entrance at the Prince’s Ball and everything seems to be going swimmingly. But will the Witch (Amy Gray Edgell) prove to be a crucial blockage on the path to true love?

With a mix of old favourites mingling with new additions to the list of players, Cinderella has been perfectly cast. Gallagher is the perfect target for any wannabe Prince with her sunny disposition, beautiful singing voice and her ability to look stunning in a ball gown and her partnership with Clifton exudes real chemistry. The Prince is played with the confidence and effervescence of an actor on top of his role.

Holmes and Dale are the perfect duet as they feed off each other’s actions to become the epitome of a gruesome twosome while there has to be special praise for Bailey whose lovable antics had the younger members of the audience eating out of his hands.

The Fairy Godmother role has a more prominent place in this production than normal and Jones rose to the challenge. What a powerful voice and she was even allowed to participate in a light sabre fight.

There were excellent contributions from all members of the company and they were given the opportunity to shine thanks to some outstanding work from the Creative team.

Director Paul Kerryson has produced a perfect slice of seasonal mayhem. The action moves along at a cracking pace and provides enough to keep all members of an extended family hugely entertained and chortling at the non-stop gags, Musical Director Rickey Long has created a score that is a beautiful blend of the traditional and the modern and Choreographer Tracey Iliffe has ensured that there is delightful dancing and movement throughout.

There are probably two things that an audience member watching Cinderella wants to see. Firstly, the costumes have to be truly engaging from the ridiculous of the Ugly Sisters through to the wonders of Cinderella’s best frocks. Well done Charles Cusick-Smith – you did the actors proud.

Secondly, the audience need wow points to remember. The transformation of the pumpkin and other bits and pieces to a stagecoach fit for royalty certainly lived up to any expectation as it brought gasps of delight from all looking on. Congratulations to Set Designer Phil Daniels.

The Opera House has once again done the town of Buxton proud with a show that will appeal to all the family. Do yourself a real favour and make sure you take part in a magical experience that will keep you glowing until way after Santa has returned to the North Pole.

Cinderella has a running time of approximately two hours including interval and continues until January 1st. For ticket information contact 01298 72190