BY ELAINE BLACKB The Gazette
From the moment the curtain rose and the stage filled with a giant flying butterfly giving a ride to pantomime dame fairy it was clear this was going to be a night to remember. The panto at Newcastle Theatre Royal is always a magical one with amazing special effects shown at their best by a talented cast. And it was quickly clear this year’s production of Cinderella would be no exception. If anything it was better than ever with more magic, mayhem and slapstick packed into the polished performance than every before. The story stuck closely to the traditionally fairytale with Cinderella living in poverty with her cruel stepsisters and destined to wed a royal prince. But with father and son duo Clive Webb (Baron Hardup) and Danny Adams (Buttons) involved the path was never certain to run smoothly. Cinderella played by Laura Evans Cinderella played by Laura Evans The pair appeared in a joke car, followed it with a collapsing piano before going on to a very messy slapstick routine. But it was Danny Adams magic show which had us spellbound and then when he drove Cinders (Laura Evans) to the ball in one of the most realistic flying coaches we’d ever seen we were left almost speechless. His brother, Michael Potts, teamed up with the gang as he once again played the village idiot is some of their funniest scenes. One of the big surprises for us was the panto dame for the 10th year Chris Hayward playing the fairy godmother. Gone were the joke filled outfits which were replaced with some of the most beautiful costumes of the show – showing off one of the best pairs of legs in showbiz! Prince Charming played by Will Richardson Prince Charming played by Will Richardson And it was left to the fairy to take the audience on the annual terrifying 3D journey which saw the theatre filled with screams and shouts as snakes, monsters and spiders appeared within inches of your face. With the dame side-stepping the hideous outfits it fell to the ugly step-sisters Verruca (Steve Arnott) and Hernia (Peter Peverley) to take them on which they did with style in their cruel treatment of Cinders. My son Ben, six, had initially said he didn’t want to go to the show as: “Cinderella is for girls”. But within minutes he was happily confiding he might have been a bit hasty and long before the interval he was converted. Sister Eve, 14, never had any such doubts, knowing she would love every minute of the show co-written, produced and directed by local man Michael Harrison. Theatre Royal pantomimes are among the fastest-selling in the UK and regularly break box office records and with a performance like this it is easy to see why.