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Cinderella Opera House Manchester

Pic copyright Phil Tragen

Reviewed by Ian Hills Wythenshawe FM 97.2

This magical family pantomime stars Coronation Street’s Connor McIntyre (Pat Phelan) and TV presenter, comedian and actor Les Dennis as the Ugly Sisters, alongside pop star turned theatre star Gareth Gates as Prince Charming.

Joining them are CBBC’s Shannon Flynn (Dani’s Castle, Friday Download, Waterloo Road) in the title role, alongside comedian Ben Nickless as Buttons, Soul singer Hayley-Ria Christian as the Fairy Godmother, Jack Wilson as Dandini and the Stalder Academy of Dance.

We follow Cinders as she transforms from rags to riches, outwits her very Ugly Sisters, and, with the help of her best friend Buttons and one very magical Fairy Godmother, wins the heart of the dashing Prince Charming.

Cinderella features all the ingredients of the perfect pantomime; a fabulous orchestra, laugh-out-loud comedy, superb casting, spectacular stage sets, jaw-dropping special effects, beautiful costumes and plenty of boos and hisses.

The big names this year are Connor McIntyre and Les Dennis as wonderful, over-the-top dames who play the show’s ugly sisters, Phelina and Michaela. Coronation Street fans will have plenty to laugh at – look out for their song “I Gotta Phelan” and each entrance featuring increasingly outrageous, hilarious outfits.

Chart-topping Gareth Gates is the handsome Prince Charming. With plenty of Pop Idol gags, my personal favourite was: “We really wanted Will Young but he was booked up.” Gareth Gates sings his biggest hit ‘Unchained Melody’ when he falls for Cinderella, played by CBBC’s Shannon Flynn.

Buttons (played by Ben Nickless) as the lovelorn best friend of Cinderella, brought us celebrity impressions and hilarious comedy routines that I have never seen before. Soul singer Hayley-Ria Christian as the Fairy Godmother is a delight.

The transformation scene of Cinders to a Princess and the pumpkin and mice to a crystal coach and flying horses offers the most magical panto effects I have ever seen at the Opera House, something you might expect to see in Las Vegas.

If you enjoy a traditional pantomime you will enjoy this Cinderella and leave the theatre in a festive mood this Christmas.

Cinderella is on at the Opera House until December 30th with performances at 7pm and matinees each day except Tuesdays (Check online for times).

For tickets phone the Box Office on 0844 871 3018 or call in person 90 minutes before a performance. For online bookings go to atgtickets.com/Manchester.

[Pic:Gareth Gates and Shannon Flynn starring in Cinderella – Phil Tragen Photography]

 

 

 

 

 

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