Christmas festivities were launched at Chesterfield’s Pomegranate Theatre this weekend in a blaze of sparkle, stardust and special effects.
Families turned out in festive jumpers and party dresses to celebrate the arrival of the greatest fairy tale of them all, Cinderella.
Children got into the spirit with flashing swords and star-topped wands lighting up the excitement on their faces.
Pantomime offers the first experience of live theatre for many little ones - and this show will surely make them want to return year after year.
Magical highlights include 3D experiences in which Cinderella’s carriage soars across the skies dodging winged creatures and a scary trip into woods populated by cheeky ghosts, a comical snake, a grasping hand and giant spiders to make you jump out of your seat.
Gags about Brexit, Twitter, iPhone and England football captain Harry Kane refresh a traditional story in which none of the evergreen pantomime jokes and skits are sacrificed.
Children’s television presenter Naomi Wilkinson is every girl’s vision of Cinderella. She’s pretty, sweet and has a lovely voice - her duet Shotgun, with Josh Benson (Buttons) is one of the musical high spots.
But the gown and hairdo which Cinderella wears to the royal ball lack the wow factor which you’d expect in her guise as Princess Crystal.
Vocal numbers are among the best I’ve heard in a pantomime at the Pomegranate.
Eleven years ago this weekend, Rhydian Roberts delighted the nation in the final of X Factor where he took the runners-up spot…..now he’s brought the feelgood factor to Chesterfield.
Rhydian showcases his considerable talent for musical theatre in the role of Prince Charming, proving a commanding presence as both singer and actor. His solo, I Need Somebody to Love and duets, For You with Naomi and Modern Love with Thomas Pegg (Dandini) demonstrate his versatility.
Panto wouldn’t be panto without a singalong and the children belted out Little Shark at the tops of their voices, led by Josh Benson who proved an unstoppable force throughout the show adding magic and mayhem to the proceedings. Josh brought the house down in The 12 Days of Christmas song by mislaying a prop and falling over in his haste to keep the momentum going. Later on he encountered a sticking door which forced him into taking a detour backstage where even a smoke machine in his way didn’t delay his arrival right on cue.
John Danbury and Ben Millerman ramp up the comedy in the roles of the Ugly Sisters Beyonce and Solange Hardup, with their withering put-downs and imaginative costumes including one which resembles a hanging basket. This gruesome twosome revel in their Nightmares of Nature tag.
Magic is in the hands of Ashley Stirling as the Fairy Godmother whose great performance of the song Feeling Good sets the bar high as soon as the curtain lifts. Her Geordie lingo raises a few chuckles throughout the performance.
Cinderella is a dream come true for students from ten dancing schools who have the golden opportunity to shine alongside the professionals.
Everyone has a ball at his show which is good, clean fun for all the family.
Cinderella runs at the Pomegranate until January 6. For tickets, click here or call 01246 345222.