It was a case of “Welcome home” to the cast, crew and audience as this year’s York Theatre Royal’s pantomime, Cinderella returned to the re-furbished fold.
Mark Walters’ set designs and costumes sparkled and glittered throughout the panto pandemonium reflecting the spirit of magic and mirth created on stage.
It was so good to see the panto back on track, despite setbacks, including Martin Barrass’s horrific motorcycle crash, and Berwick’s heart scare.
Our own Harry Hughes from Pocklington, now a firmly established member of the York panto ‘family’, took on the role of Buttons this year so that AJ Powell could take over Martin’s planned role as an Ugly Sister. Harry’s Buttons shone brightly throughout the show, clearly demonstrating his versatility as a performer.
As always, Berwick was greeted with cheers and warm applause as he uttered those immortal words, “Me babbies, me bairns”.
This year, Berwick played Hernia, an Ugly Sister alongside AJ Powell’s Priscilla, the Ugly Sister with the kind heart – an inspired idea. He made cameo appearances as the dame though; making the most of a golden opportunity in the Finale. You can’t keep a good “girl” down.
AJ, along with the irrepressible David Leonard, playing Baroness Von Naff, displayed an enviable pair of pins, and proved to be a really good sport, taking Martin’s place in the much anticipated water slapstick scene. There were lots of cheeky references to Berwick’s heart problems, but the tribute to the NHS nurses was heart-felt, and received rapturous applause for the wonderful work they do.
Suzy Cooper was a ditzy delight as Cinderella, with Hermione Lynch making a splendid Prince Charming.
The music, directed by Rob Castell was as wonderful as ever, as was the dancing, and performances of the Courtiers, choreographed by Grace Harrington.
Hearts melted when the young people’s team appeared as white mice, and the winter-wonderland scene as Cinderella set off to go to the ball also had the “aaah” factor.
Harry Gration upped his game in his appearance in the annual film, and the audience showed their joy at Martin’s miraculous recovery when he popped up unexpectedly in the film.
The Suzie Quatro film footage was great fun; my more enlightened guest informed me it was a spoof based on James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke YouTube hit.
A fun, family show, with the last word going to loveable “son” Martin Barrass,
“I’ll be back!” Look forward to seeing the whole ‘family’ back in action next year.
Cinderella runs at the York Theatre Royal until Saturday January 28.
Tickets available on 01904 623568.