Would it be Christmas/Blogmas without me reviewing a Pantomime? Of course not. So I had to get myself down to the press night of Cinderella at the Bristol Hippodrome. I will admit, Cinderella is a cool story but not exactly my first choice of Panto story… However Gok Wan was in it playing the ‘Fairy Gokmother’, so obviously I was sold.
What is Cinderella the Panto?
We all know the story of Cinderella by now, but in Panto form it’s a whole lot looser. Think of the basic storyline with tonnes of innuendo, contemporary pop, comedic improvisation and audience interaction. Though Cinderella is the star of the original, this production definitely centres around Gok as the Fairy Gokmother and Brian Conley as Buttons.
It’s been a few years since I’ve seen a Pantomime. I used to watch them quite a lot as a child, but not so much anymore. However, I definitely don’t remember Pantomime’s being like this. Of course they’re rife with innuendo, but I remember them being a little more subtle? This certainly was not subtle.
From the moment Brian Conley entered the stage the laughs were in full swing. He was loud, confident and had amazing stage presence. Though a little crude at times, with a few jokes that may have been pushed a little too far, his general performance definitely brought a lot to the show. It was clear that despite playing Buttons and not Cinderella, he was the star. However, I’d say that he definitely took the show from a PG rating to a 12A.
It was clear from around 10 minutes in that it wasn’t a play that took itself too seriously. Brian Conley and Gok Wan had amazing chemistry, and their back and forth sometimes left the realms of the play and was clearly just the two of them having a good time. From time to time things went wrong, people lost their places, costumes fell apart and characters couldn’t keep their straight faces. However, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It somehow made the play more captivating, and felt like we were in on the joke. There’s nothing that makes me smile more than watching people have a great time, and that’s clearly what was happening on stage.
I’ve spoken a lot about Brian and Gok, but honestly the rest of the cast really held their own too. Lauren Hall delivered a fantastic performance as Cinderella, and her vocals were absolutely brilliant. She had beautiful range and projection and I couldn’t stop thinking about it as I was watching her. Also, Ben Stock and Neal Wright did a fantastic job as the Ugly Step Sisters… I can’t get over the sheer amount of costume changes that they had between them!
The background dancers did a great job too – especially the young children on the cast! However, my favourite moment involving the dancers was definitely the dancing Pumpkins’ tap dance sequence.
Like I said earlier, the play didn’t exactly take itself too seriously. However, the theatrical effects during the carriage scene were everything. I was sat there in awe as the carriage flew above the audience with animatronic horses, and honestly I couldn’t tell you how they did it. With the lighting, the flying and the general dazzle, It was a truly magical moment.
Would I recommend it?
As far as Pantomimes go, this was definitely an enjoyable one, especially for my age range. Obviously, you can bring your children to it – it still has the general childish fart jokes and slapstick, and there’s a cute interactive singalong at the end. However, this is one that can really be enjoyed by adults. You have until 6th January to see it at the Hippodrome so there’s still a lot of time! Head to the Hippodrome website to book tickets of your own.
Have you seen it? Would you see it? Let me know in the comments!
14 days til Christmas!
*DISCLAIMER* This review is not sponsored, but I was given a complimentary ticket to see this show. However, that does not affect the integrity of my review. All my thoughts and opinions are my own and I always work to keep my reviews genuine and honest. If you would like to know more about the work that I do with brands and companies, you can do so here.
The pictures used in this post are not mine in any way. They were provided to me by the Bristol Hippodrome for promotional purposes.