Panto season is well and truly underway across the country, and we had the delight of heading down to Manchester's very own Opera House for some family-friendly viewing of Cinderella.
The show was everything and more, filled with immersive set design, fantastic humour and a fair few innuendo's to keep the parents smirking whilst the kids were treated to a fantastic and magical Christmas show.
Leading the way in star-studded appearances in the show were Coronation Street's Pat Phelan and Michael, otherwise known as Connor McIntyre and Les Dennis, starring as signature dames and Cinderella's ugly sisters Phelina and Michaela (spot the reference) in true, over the top panto fashion. Although I myself don't watch Corrie, the audience ate up the peppering of references that were made and the kids took great joy in their increasingly ridiculous outfits including a can of Fosters and a pack of crisps.
Alongside the soap-stars comes Pop Idol legend Gareth Gates in the leading role of Prince Charming, gifting us with plenty of talent show gags as well as a magical reprise of his biggest hit: Unchained Melody.
Starring as down-on-her-luck princess Cinders is Shannon Flynn, who brought a certain grace and charm to the role that made her endearing yet hilarious, although the humour was best carried by Rochdale's own Ben Nickless who left the audience bent double as Cinders' lovesick best friend through a variety of impressions, voices and excellently delivered slapstick humour. My personal favourite rested in the simply outstanding vocals from Hayley-Ria Christian as The Fairy Godmother, whose rendition of Fabulous Baby from Sister Act left chills down my spine.
Cinderella proved to be an absolute must-see, filled with gags that land fantastically and outfits that conjure up the perfect arrangement of magic and wonder in both adults and children. As well as having an impressive cast of stars and big name celebrities, the ensemble cast squared up and showcased their incredible talent, executing Fabian Aloise's choreography with skill and ease in what was a high-octane two hours of delight. Writer Alan McHugh delivered on all expectations with Cinderella, creating an upbeat, fun and riveting show where my only qualm was wanting a little more of The Fairy Grandmother.
The show continues at the Manchester Opera House until December 30th, so make sure to get your tickets below before you miss out!
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