For over 75 years The Alhambra has been synonymous with spectacular pantomimes and this year’s production is no exception.
With its breathtaking sets, lavish costumes, amazing transformation scenes and some startling special effects, Cinderella can only be described as magical.
The mainstay of the panto for 14 years has been Billy Pearce “My name’s Buttons this year”, he quips. Hardly ever off stage he’s a bundle of energy and vitality with his own inimitable brand of comedy, with a strong local stamp on it which the audience love; whilst at the same time capturing the warmth, tenderness and pathos of the role, especially in the kitchen scene with Cinders.
Everyone loves the fairy godmother and Lynda Bellingham gives the role a new dimension, literally flying on and when she says she’ll be back in a flash she really means it. With her warm but no nonsense attitude and a rather wicked sense of humour she’s one of the best fairy godmothers I’ve seen – and I’ve seen a lot.
Coach Trip’s Brendan Sheerin as Baron Hardup seems like an after thought in the script. Making only a few appearances I would like to have seen Baron Hardup taking a more active part in the story, instead of a few appearances all referencing his TV show, which went over the heads of most of the young children.
Bold, brash and bordering on the grotesque Brian Godfrey and Ben Stock are a fabulous duo skilfully mixing the modern and traditional image to good effect. Their costumes get more over the top as the evening progresses – their ball gowns brought gasps from the audience they were so outlandish.
Christopher Drake as the Prince and Afnan Iftikhar, Dandeni both have the looks, personality and voice to charm any lady so it’s no wonder that Hannah Grover, as the sweet voiced Cinderella fell hook line and sinker for them.
Superbly choreographed routines by Stillie Dee are executed with great precision and gusto by the hardworking boy and girls dancers. And of course no Cinderella would be complete without the cute and spectacular coach and ponies.
With a fabulous feel good factor Cinderella is certainly one of the best pantomimes in our region.
To February 3, The Alhambra, Morley Street, Bradford, £10 to £27, Tel. 01274 432000 www.bradford-theatres.co.uk