Review: Cinderella, Devonshire Park Theatre, till Jan 16 - by Annemarie Field

Members of the cast
Members of the cast

CHRISTMAS hats off to Eastbourne’s panto writer and director Chris Jordan who has come up with yet another festive cracker of a pantomime in Cinderella (oh yes, he has!).

The show, which kicked off a four-week run on Tuesday, is an all-singing, all-dancing spectacular with fantastic costumes, impressive sets and a large dose of brilliant slapstick humour and audience participation.

The show offers something for everyone, young and old, and the massive crowd puller is EastEnders’ Jean Slater (Stacey’s mum), who is a lovely fluffy, dipsy Fairy Godmother and hugely popular with the audience.

Tony Adams (of Crossroads fame) pulled out of the role of Baron Hardup before the curtain went up but his shoes have been royally filled by Bexhill actor Nicholas Colicos, who is fantastic.

Rachel Jerram is a lovely Cinderella and Dancing on Ice fans will love Clare Buckfield who is a good Dandini to Kate Burrell’s Prince Charming.

My favourite character - not to mention my six-year-old’s, who was also star struck with Fairy Godmother - was Ugly Sister Marjorie Hardup, alias Martyn Knight, who is the best panto dame I have seen in a long time.

Richard Pocock is also excellent as Floribunda Hardup and Joseph Pitcher is a brilliant Buttons, whose John Travolta dance routine is particularly memorable.

The songs are up to date and appealing and believe it or not, the show manages to top last year’s highlight when an oversized giant took to the stage. I won’t spoil the surprise by revealing all but it really is a superb climax to the first half as Cinderella finally gets to the go to the ball.

One of the many good things about Eastbourne’s pantomime - apart from the beauty of the Devonshire Park as the setting - is the fact it remains one of the only pantos which doesn’t use backing tapes and has a live band in the shape of Uncle Bob and the Wrong Notes.

We all know the drill these days, boo the baddies, cheer the goodies and of course, ‘behind you’.

So get down to the Devonshire Park for some great festive entertainment.