‘Finding Pantoland…!’ Cinderella, Churchill Theatre, Bromley, 05.12.2023

I was so excited to be returning to the Churchill Theatre in Bromley to see their Pantomime this year the fabulous story of ‘Cinderella.’ We took our seats and was greeted by a colourful glittery stage curtain and sparkly lights – if that didn’t get the audience excited for what was to come and in the Christmas mood, then i’m not sure what would!

Cinderella lives in a small town, with her mean ugly step-sisters who bully her into doing all the chores and tasks at their command. She dreams of something more, along with wishing to go to the royal ball that evening – though her sisters will ensure that does not come true, with the help of her fairy Godmother some wishes do come true.

There is nothing like a trip to your local theatre to see the Pantomime at Christmas in Britain, a great way to enjoy some great entertainment but, also for the families that what to enjoy a different day or night – Panto is the perfect way to introduce your child to theatre! Cinderella was a prime example for this, from the moment it begins the children are engage and included throughout the story with constant audience participation with your classic ‘Hello Buttons,’ ‘Oh no you wont,’ and the boos on the arrival of the Sisters. The audience were warm and welcoming to the inclusion of the story including two gentleman who had their moment in the spotlight which allowed ventriloquist John Kimmons, who played the Baron Hardup the perfect comical moment in Act 2. It was great fun to watch and had the audience laughing out loud -including John! Along with John’s comical moments was Steven Dalzeil as Buttons, who appeared to have a facial expression for each emotion that complimented his animated and lively buttons that was an instant like to the children in the audience. They all lit up when he came on stage, excited to see what he would do next.

With every Pantomime comes the ‘bad guy’ and tonight it was the form of two ‘dames’ Hernia and Verruca played tonight by Darren Bennett and Jak Allen-Anderson, Jak looked stunning although the character was not portrayed that way but it was hard to see him look bad in any of the extravagant dresses they had the pair wear, his partner Darren also looked great but also gave some great jokes – we can all relate to having a pair of ‘Avenger knickers!’ The two worked well together, bouncing off one another along with Barry O’Reilly as Dandini, during a few trio performances in the show.

Along with comedy came some great singing talent, Cinderella played by Tia Gyngell opened the show we a great solo that showed her beautiful tone to her voice. Her innocence shown through and when she meets her Prince Charming played handsomely by Tom Dickerson, their many duets together allowed them to show off their singing perfectly and they both worked well together. Then there was the Fairy Godmother with the ‘X Factor’ Loose women presenter Brenda Edwards took to the stage like a natural – as we know she is and slayed every song that she was given. I particularly loved her duet ‘Finding Pantoland’ with Cinders which was a great joy to watch and they could both really show off their vocals.

Without a doubt, going to Cinderella will guarantee you a lift and make your day even better. A full evening of entertainment, comedy and surprises that will have you smiling, laughing and dancing in your seats. I can only wait until I can show my little girl the magic that Pantomime is, that every age can enjoy!

playing until the 31st December at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley tickets are available here. I look forward to seeing the newly announced 2024 panto Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs next year – I know I wont be disappointed!

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