Cinderella is 'Panto Magic' at The Lyric

Oh yes it is!

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Julie Atherton - Cinderella

Sophia Nomvete - Fairy Godmother/Dandini

Photos from Tristram Kenton

The Lyric Theatre

Lyric Hammersmith, Lyric Square, King St, London W6 0QL

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There is nothing quite like a Panto to get you into the festive spirit and this year, here in London we are rather spoilt for choice.

Cinderella at The Lyric in Hammersmith is definitely worth seeing. It's a fun filled, action packed show, for both adults and children which will leave even the Grinchiest person feeling rather merry.

Based in the kingdom of West-Six (W6 geddit?) it's the traditional tale, but this Cinders has more than the usual set of problems to contend with (no ballgown, no wheels, wicked stepmother) - she also has two left feet. Julie Atherton (Sister Act) with an incredible singing voice makes Cinders charming and quirky - very sweet but not sickly.

Another knock-out singer is the versatile Sophia Nomvete (who was also in last year's Lyric pantomime Aladdin). She was kept very busy on stage with two great performances as both the Fairy Godmother and Dandini.

The wonderful actress/comedian and British Bake Off presenter Mel Giedroyc (pic below) made a scary but very funny wicked Stepmother. If you want to see someone thoroughly reveling in her role (with much mention of her muffins and baps) this is it - she was a total joy to watch.

The ever-popular Steven Webb (below) returns once again to The Lyric, this time in the role of Buttons. He produces everything you want from the main narrator/Panto 'MC', a totally assured performance from a very personable actor who knows how to instantly win the audience over and get them involved.

Overall it's a wonderfully strong cast, the step 'sisters' Munt and Ugger (Hammed Animashaun and David Ganley) provide the slapstick and ensure there is enough audience participation. The Prince, played in true Hugh Grant style by William Ellis, (currently also to be seen in the new Great Expectations movie as Compeyson) is foppish fun.

Timing is everything and some Panto's can be rather indulgent bringing too many children onto the stage - a vital ingredient admittedly, but one which can really slow the pace of the show. Fortunately, writers, Joel Harwood and Morgan Lloyd-Malcolm, seem to have got it just right at the Lyric and this section is integrated into the drama and moves well.

With some great voices and tunes, plenty of corny jokes/innuendo and slapstick, and a cast who are all full of energy and enthusiasm - this show really ticks all the right boxes.

It's classic panto magic, just marvellous. Go see for yourself.


Cinderella is on at the Lyric Theatre until 5 January 2013

Annemarie Flanagan


3rd December 2012