Stars explained: * A production of no real merit with failings in all areas. ** A production showing evidence of not enough time or effort, or even talent, and which never breathes any real life into the piece – or a show lumbered with a terrible script. *** A good enjoyable show which might have some small flaws but has largely achieved what it set out to do.**** An excellent show which shows a great deal of work and stage craft with no noticeable or major flaws.***** A four star show which has found that extra bit of magic which lifts theatre to another plane.
Half stars fall between the ratings

Cinders with a Brummie flavour


Sutton Arts Theatre


IT WAS a case of the show must go on as Sutton Arts Theatre opened the Christmas season officially with their fantastic pantomime Cinderella.

Their Musical director was unfortunately absent on the opening night and so a new one was found who had only a short time to work on the many musical numbers and links that this glittering production contains.

This must have added a certain amount of opening night nerves to the performance but there were only a couple of times when you could feel something was not quite on time and overall the team's professionalism shone through.

They certainly seemed to have spared no expense in this production with what must have amounted to hundreds of costume changes, lighting effects, props and some spectacular staging that filled the small stage to capacity.

This production was written by one time Sutton Arts player Richard Aucott who this year is appearing professionally in pantomime and the show definitely benefitted from his experience.

Ian Cornock and Gary Pritchard took on the dubious task of playing the Ugly sisters and certainly created an outrageous presence with their assortment of wigs, outfits and a long stream of backbiting humour.


Buttons was played by Richard Ham and he kept the whole proceedings ticking over and on course especially when the musician's seemed a little distant or slightly out of time. 

The lead role of Cinders was played by Michelle Dawes who handled all of the singing numbers with ease as did Suzy Donnelley as Prince Charming.

Aimee Hall seemed to relish the opportunity to add some regional flavour playing the Princes friend Dandini with zest and adding what sounded like a broad Dudley accent to her character. She also delivered a nice who's on first base * type scene with the young page boy Charlie Flockhart who showed a lot of confidence in his role.

The more experienced players of Alison Daley and Mark Nattrass as the Fairy Godmother and Baron Hardup respectively, supported the young cast throughout.

There were also a good number of dance routines executed well by the young ensemble who more than once added some unintentional humour with a few wrong turns here and there.

The production is directed by Dexter Whitehead and the whole Sutton Arts crew must be commended for their efforts in the lighting and staging design which brought a real wow factor to the big reveals.

The beauty of seeing panto in a small theatre like this is that there is no escape. There were young children behind me laughing hysterically that were saying `it was the funniest thing they had ever seen ‘ and that's possibly the best recommendation that can be given for this seasonal fun packed outing. 

With their regular musical director back at the helm this show can only get better and so the final words might be from Dandini from Dudley who would have to say "Yow muss goo tuther ball". To 22-12-12.

Jeff Grant

Home Reviews A-Z Reviews by affiliate