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Review: Cinderella, Swansea Grand Theatre

Packed full of family entertainment is this year’s traditional pantomime, Cinderella, at Swansea’s Grand Theatre.

Set in the heart of Swansea, the Grand Theatre is one of the foremost theatres in Wales with its 121 years of history. It hasn’t always been plain sailing for the theatre, and was once turned into a cinema for 14 years back in the day. Since 1969 to this very day, Swansea Council has played a major part in its survival. More recently, the theatre opened a new arts wing.

When looking at the theatre’s background, it’s easy to see why the Swansea Grand Theatre is embedded into the city’s culture. Families have been coming here for years and this year is no exception. 

Cinders will go to the ball, and you the audience are invited to join her on her journey from rags to riches, defying her ugly sisters as her dreams turn into reality when she finally meets her Prince Charming.

The performance

For a story that is rumoured to have emerged in 7 BC, and has had many adaptions since, it can be difficult to keep something so traditional, fresh. In Michael Vivian’s production, Cinderella remains true to the main story, whilst bringing in snips of modern-day references. This keeps the audience engaged, whilst not cheating younger audiences whom may be hearing the story for the first time. 

The quips to Theresa May’s Brexit or Trump aren’t overpowering, but instead pokes a little light hearted fun to what’s happening outside of the theatre’s four walls. There are probably a few too many references to popular songs and TV shows, but the chemistry that this generates between cast members (notably Dandini, Buttons and the Ugly Sisters) is more than compensation. 

Kevin Johns and Ceri Dupree star as the Ugly Sisters, and along with their endless number of outfit changes, make for a blinding performance. By the end, you can’t help but like them… even a little bit. They can’t be that bad, surely?

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Ex-Bridgend student Holly Bluett takes the staring role as Cinders, alongside Prince Charming (Rob Wilshaw).

Paul Burling takes on the role of Buttons, Cinders’ best friend and royal entertainer – I won’t spoil it, but his entertainment style will leave you in stitches throughout.

Ian H Watkins (Dandini) steps into the royal side-kick role, and the fabulous Jalisa Andrews as The Fairy Godmother. Both with their equally incredible stage presence just adds to your overall enjoyment of the performance.

What really gets the crowd going is the subtle references to Swansea or the city’s rivalry with nearby Cardiff – all good fun and it really localises the performance. 

All in all, this year’s Cinderella performance at the Swansea Grand Theatre has all the ingredients of a classic Christmas panto, one which I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

You can find out more information about the show and ticket available here. 

91%
Panto at its best

Verdict

A traditional pantomime performance with stunning costumes, superb stage presence from all the cast and plenty of laughter throughout.

  • Overall experience
  • Stage presence of actresses and actors
  • Quality of performance
  • Venue facilities
  • Value for money
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