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Hexagon - Cinderella

9th December 2000 to 7th January 2001.

This rags-to-riches tale includes all the classic elements that are integral to the world of panto – beautiful heroine, handsome prince, fairy godmother, wicked stepmother and not forgetting the Ugly Sisters. Glass slippers, pumpkin coaches and the compulsory "happy-ever-after-ending" also add to the magic.

Here's the review from the NWN.

Having a ball with Cheggers

'CINDERELLA', at The Hexagon, until January 7

What A treat this was! My last Hexagon pantomime had been so poor that I had very little sense of positive anticipation. But it was well worth fighting through Reading's traffic to get there.

The proscenium arch was used, unlike last time, which works much better for this kind of show at this theatre, and the sets were straight out of a traditional storybook. The last scene of act one looked so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes.

Just as impressive were the performances, with most of the characters brim-full of personality. Hope Augustus was the cool, Caribbean fairy godmother, rapping, cracking jokes and sparking magic with larger-than-life enthusiasm. Kym Valentine was a delightful Cinderella, innocent and charming, and she has a great singing voice too. The Ugly Sisters (Richard Pocock and William Elliott) were very funny and suitably nasty to Cinderella, which really got the children booing.

Buttons (Keith Chegwin) also got the audience working hard, screaming so loud at one point that we had to put our fingers in our ears! He had a great rapport with the children, and Lauren thought he was the best thing about it.

Matthew thought Baron Hardup was the best, "the funniest thing since Jasper Carrot", he said. The Baron was played by Peter Piper, who displayed a prodigious talent for impersonations, including an embarrassingly good Basil Fawlty and a brilliant David Attenborough complete with gorilla.

None of this may seem to have much to do with Cinderella, but the whole show was so well devised, and directed at a cracking pace by Martin Connor, that it really didn't matter. There was definitely something to appeal to everyone; the younger children loved the dancing animals in the wood and the pop songs, and the adults loved the wit and the topical references, and the fact that there wasn't anything you wouldn't want the children to hear.

Good, traditional panto, then, and highly recommended. As Tom said, it was all very good!