Review: Cinderella At New Wimbledon Theatre

Ten out of ten for this year's SW19 pantomime

It's 'Strictly' pantomime at New Wimbledon Theatre as Craig Revel Horwood earns himself a score of ten playing evil Baroness Demonica Hardup who tries to stop Cinderella going to the ball.

Even people who aren't regular Strictly Come Dancing watchers (yes, there are some out there) will have picked up on the show's catchphrases and familiar music. And, as most of the packed auditorium seemed familiar with the Saturday night TV show, the creators of this year's panto were onto a winner from the off.

Every Wimbledon panto box is also ticked in this production - the annual jokes about Mitcham and Raynes Park, a charming group of children plucked from the audience to join in on stage and an hilarious dance routine involving props and slick moves.

With Revel Horwood in the starring role, it was no wonder that what marked this one out was its fantastic dance routines, with the 'dance-off' between Revel Horwood as the Wicked Stepmother and Pete Firmin as Buttons being particularly memorable. 

Firmin is an accomplished panto performer and it was no surprise he didn't disappoint. His magic routines fitted in seamlessly, and involved some adult audience participation. Watch out if you are sitting in the front rows - especially for the copious releases of dry ice and a dusting of fake snow before the interval. 

Firmin was so slick it was hard to tell if he was ad-libbing at times, and he genuinely seemed to be having a good time. One of the show's funniest moments was when Revel Horwood's spectacular hairdo fell off, and he shuffled off the stage with a grin whilst "keeping his dignity".

This version of Cinderella follows the plot we all know well, as Cinders (played by Cassie Compton) falls in love with Prince Charming (played by 2023 graduate Solomon Davy). As the story unfolds, another of the show's highlights is when Cinderella is whisked to the ball in a horse-driven carriage which flies over the audience ahead of the interval.

Other stand-out memories from this show came from the imaginative costumes, with the 'pumpkin head' dancers still sticking in my mind. The 'ugly sisters', played by Leanne Jones and Catherine Morris also sported some spectacular attire, but not quite dazzling enough to upstage the costumes of their on-stage mother.

Cinderella wouldn't be complete without a Fairy Godmother and Alison Jiear's wonderful voice added a new dimension to this role. There is plenty of singing in this show, and none of it disappointed. Daniel Norford was also a charming Dandini, and the work of the whole ensemble helped make this one of the best pantos I've seen in Wimbledon.

By Sue Choularton

December 12, 2023