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Review of Cinderella at the Looking Glass Theatre, Northampton

This weekend I spent my first money ever on seeing a pantomime. I have of course seen them in the past, in those wonderful days when the magic money people, the parents, paid for things and I have near no memory of them (pantomimes that is, not parents! :O ). I did however see Jack And The Beanstalk last year, however no money or magic beans passed from my hand as I experienced the mysterious benefit of a competition win to see it. I enjoyed it in a sort of surreal "what the blooming bananery is going on" way that comes perhaps from an adult watching a pantomime (especially with no children of any form in tow "look at that weirdo!". Much like going for a Sunday walk with no dog. Just odd.). CJ de Mooi of Eggheads fame was particularly good in it, I remember. However it didn't turn me into a pantomime going thespian or whatever they might be called. So I didn't return to the Deco this year, or indeed my second home to see Peter Pan, I wanted to save my money for more important shows.

However this is not a review of a pantomime I didn't see. Oh yes it is! Oh no it's not! I lashed out a whole six pounds on going to the little Looking Glass Theatre and seeing Cinderella, slightly delayed by Mr Man Flu, but now behind me. {insert panto line}

Pantomime's for adults are an acquired taste and for the early morning audience (I saw the 10am show), the children were also not ready or willing at first to join in the usual shouts and replies required. However once encouraged by the cast they managed to join in while I hid at the back trying not to cough.

The fun for me with the Looking Glass has been seeing the same actors in different roles throughout the year, very much the old tradition of repertory theatre. David Heathcote is the prime example, this time playing Dandina and Eloise (in some spiffing frocks), I have in the last year seen him as a shouty RSM in Killed and jungle explorer in The Jungle Book. This time he was great as Dandini, but superb as buxom Eloise who in partnership with Marvin Freeman as Ermintrude were a delight as the ugly sisters. Indeed all three men played into their female roles with much more gusty than the male counterparts. It was great to see Freeman once again especially as I had followed his final year of his graduation process from the University Of Northampton and he had been one of my favourites in the Flash Festival in particular.

The third gent was Tim Cole as a mixture of characters including the most important Buttons, who as he tells us is very important "everyone needs Buttons". Well everyone except the youngster at the front who quite clearly said zip when asked. No flies on them, well no button ones certainly. Cole was very different in all of his three roles and didn't need to rely on the wig/hat change to tell us the difference, although the end scene revealing all was very cleverly included. The final actor present was a new face to me in the form of Cinderella herself, Lucy Ellis-Brown, who imparted all the likable sweetness to the role in perfect opposite of her ugly counterparts. She was great, but always dominated by the overplaying (in a good way) gentlemen. I hope to see her in something else a tad more subtle in the future.

The play itself from director James Smith was sprinkled with a fine assortment of corny and groan inducing jokes (presented with relevant sound effect) and had a nice number of local references and jokes to the mix. Any reason to have a dig at our "glorious" new bus station is going to go down well in my book.

So overall, it was great fun. It was everything you expect of a pantomime with some cute little puppets thrown in for good measure.

Performance reviewed: The morning performance on Saturday 3rd January 2015 at the Looking Glass Theatre, Northampton. 

The Jungle Book was on at the Looking Glass Theatre, Northampton until Saturday 3rd January, 2015 and previously touring during December, 2014.
The theatre website is athttp://www.lookingglasstheatre.co.uk/

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