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Review: I had a 'ball' at Key Theatre's panto

I went to the ball as Cinderella returned to the Key Theatre this festive season.  

It’s the season to be jolly...and of course enjoy a panto!  

Now you might gasp at my next sentence - but five years of living in this country, I attended my first pantomime ever this week and it was magical.  

I went to see Cinderella, along with my friend and ex-PM legend Charlotte Moore at the Key Theatre, written, designed and directed by David Griffin-Stephens. I had no idea what to expect but was warned there will be a lot of laughter – and there sure was.  

It was not a bad turnout for a Tuesday afternoon –lots of grandparents, families and children having a good time.  

We have been hearing the story of the beautiful Cinderella for decades.  

Played by Thea Day, Cinderella is ill-treated by her evil and ‘ugly’ stepsisters Claudia (Stewart Briggs) and Tess (Joe Beecroft).  

She is made to live as a servant and obey their orders, and even tear up her ticket to the ball where the Prince will meet his future bride - shattering her dreams, until one day...The fairy godmother (Susie Chaytow), casts her magic and whisks Cinders from kitchen to castle, with Cinderella's best friend Buttons (Simon Aylin) offering a helping hand.  

Cinderella enjoys a dance with the Prince Charming (Hugo Caton) at the ball until the stroke of midnight. She hurries back into her world of reality - back to the rugged clothes and apron as she remembers the warning from her fairy godmother - the magical spell is about to end. 

Like many, I have read Cinderella a thousand times, yet I was anxious – will she go to the ball? Will the prince find her again? will the glass slipper fit her? Will she have a happy-ending?  

I was transported back to my childhood. 

Interactive jokes which were silly yet funny kept us all entertained throughout. A few moral lessons on kindness and littering oh and a little mention of the infamous Downing Street Party were thrown in which kept the atmosphere upbeat throughout the show.  

The performances were enjoyable with original songs by the theatre’s new composer, Simon Hanson. The dances in shimmering outfits fit in well with the theme. I particularly loved the ‘hideous’, colourful outfits and get ups of the ugly sisters- they truly reflected their characters.  

All in all, Cinderella made for a great first panto experience for me.  

Theatres did not have their happy ending last year due to the pandemic halting their shows but City Culture Peterborough has worked hard to not only keep prices frozen at pre-pandemic levels but also introduce more discounts and more performances.

It’s £10 a ticket and running at the Key Theatre until January 9, 2022. You can find out more here.