REVIEW: Cinderella, Theatre Royal, Brighton

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If it’s big-name celebrities or humour for grown-ups you’re looking for in a panto, Cinderella at Brighton’s Theatre Royal is probably not for you.

But if you’re after a pure old-fashioned bit of family entertainment with lots of singing, dancing, colourful characters - and plenty of chances to boo the baddies - then this is just the job.

The theatre has deliberately avoided the temptation to buy in the sort of names from TV that can take over a panto, relying instead on a talented cast with a background on the stage, so you know what you’re getting before you go.

The result is a production that the kids will love.

Brighton-born Emma Dearden shines as Cinders in this delightful version of the rags-to-riches fairytale.

Elliot Harper is a competent Prince Charming, but at times Chadwick (Ben Redfern) and prince’s valet Dandini (Tim Newman) outdo him, not least when they are playing it for laughs.

And if you want to judge the baddies by how early the crowd start to boo and hiss, then evil stepmother Fatima (Vanessa Clarke) and her daughters Foo-Foo (Kate Alexander) and Fi-Fi (Tania Newton) do a great job, for it was soon after their first appearance that the kids in the crowd started telling them what they thought.

This lovely old theatre was packed out when we were there, and the chances are that by sticking to what pantos were all about in the days before soap characters and the like took over, they have guaranteed plenty more full houses in the weeks ahead.

* Cinderella is at the Theatre Royal Brighton until January 16. Box office 08448 717650.

STEVE BONE