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 Connecting professional and amateur theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond

Anvil - Cinderella

12th December 2002 to 4th January 2003.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Corny jokes? That's panto

Cinderella, at The Anvil, Basingstoke, until January 4

If pantomime is a British institution, Cinderella is a prime example.

But how do you explain it to a visitor from a remote part of the USA, never mind Outer Mongolia?

Well, there's this young girl living with her father and two ugly sisters, but the sisters are really in drag.

Then there's the handsome prince she falls for, but he's really a girl and his friend, Dandini, he's a girl too and - why are you looking at me like that?

Let's get to the point. Here's what my co-reviewer said: "It was very good and the fairies were funny.

"My favourite character was Buttons because he was a very good actor. The ugly sisters were very funny because they reminded me of Eddie and Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous.

"I thought it was really good and you should see it."

I would agree and recommend a trip to this production which incidentally, demonstrated Chris Jarvis' skill as a director as well as actor.

The production fairly sizzled with bright routines and there were good, atmospheric sets.

Sarah Thomas was a diminutive, but effervescent, Fairy Godmother and Tania Whatley a sympathetic Dandini.

Sophia Thierrens did well as Cinderella and the two ugly sisters, Steve Marc and Chris Hayward, actually looked quite presentable as men, but that's going by their photographs in the programme.

Amy Garcia made a 'handsome' prince Charming. As for Michael Knowles, the put upon officer from television's It Ain't Half Hot Mum some time ago, he was rather given the short straw on jokes but maybe it was just the way he told 'em.

It's all part of the fun, anyway Panto wouldn't be panto without the corny jokes and shop-worn Abbott and Costello routines.

I did think more could have been made of the 'ghost' routine - you know, the 'it's behind you, oh no it's not, oh yes it is', lark - but the bouncing parcel routine went down well.

Cinderella continues until January 4, and is well worth a visit whether you have kids or not.