Written by Eric Potts
Produced by First Family Entertainment
Milton Keynes Theatre

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For a quality Panto, Milton Keynes Theatre has always delivered. You are always guaranteed bad jokes, audience interaction at its best and little touches of magic. This year, Cinderella keeps up this tradition.

The performance was slick, colourful and full or energy. It also had its mix of seasoned panto professionals, c-list celebrities and Hollywood stars. It was quite astonishing and slightly surreal to see Mickey Rooney sharing a stage with Bobby Davro. His was a dedicated if slightly brief Baron Hardup.

Out of the celebrity main cast, there are some impressive performances. Bobby Davro may be slightly old-school, he may feel like a throw back from the 80s but it is difficult not to admire his energy and ability to play the crowd - everyone from child to grandparent loved him.

Louise Dearman as Cinderella was convincing, as was Anthony Kavanagh the 'Alternate Prince.' Both sang every note to perfection and had the right amount of sugary sweetness to make the story work.

There were slight misgivings with Cinderella. The sponsorship of Robinson's, the soft drinks company, is understandable but it did feel as though this was being pushed slightly too heavily in moments. It goes without saying that regional theatre needs as much funding as possible, but this needn't clash with the artistic integrity of the venue.

There was also the inclusion of talent show competitors in the performance. This worked with the fairy assistant, but an MC narrating the enchanting ball just seemed to take some of the shine off of what should have been a magical scene.

However, despite these slight glitches, and perhaps considering that Cinderella had a hard act to follow after last year's excellent Peter Pan, this is a decent panto that I am sure will not leave many disappointed.

"Cinderella" plays until Sunday 17th January 2010

Reviewer: John Johnson

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