Disclosure: We were invited to see this show for the purpose of this post however all opinions are my own.
Last night we were invited to see this year’s pantomime at Camberley Theatre – Cinderella! Camberley Theatre always put on a fantastic show and we love visiting the theatre. It’s a great size, not too big and it always has a really lovely atmosphere too.
Cinderella at Camberley Theatre
When we heard that Camberley Theatre were putting on Cinderella as the pantomime this year, we couldn’t wait! It’s made to be a pantomime. With the ugly sisters, a princess and prince charming, it’s a great panto story and we couldn’t wait to see it.
The show started with a fantastic high energy musical medley that introduced us to the cast and the setting – the village of Camberley! Throughout the show a lot of effort had gone into making the story and jokes really relevant locally and we really appreciated the humour set around the local area.
Rebecca Harris was wonderful as Cinderella. With a great voice and a natural chemistry with Prince Charming, she came across really well. We loved seeing her go from picked on step sister and step daughter to beautiful bride at the end – and with all the ups and downs in between.
Prince Charming was played by Cal Plant who we had the pleasure of seeing in Beauty and the Beast last year. He has an incredible voice, is a really versatile dancer and he really commands the stage. It was great to see him in the male lead role and his dances with Cinderella were really emotive parts. We were rooting for them from the very start – although we already knew how the story turns out!
Two of our favourite characters were Mona and Lisa Hardup, Cinderella’s stepsisters. Played by familiar faces at Camberley Theatre, Suzi Budd and Thomas Andrew Smith, they were the characters that we really loved to hate.
Mona and Lisa were perfect. Annoying, horrible, mean and ill-spirited, they were both played so well and we really enjoyed booing them and telling them that no, they weren’t adorable! The amount of audience participation in the show was great. It felt like we, as the audience, were a real part of the performance, and we really enjoyed all the booing, dancing, pointing and shouting! It was great fun from start to finish.
The children absolutely loved Buttons – and had smiles on their faces every time he appeared. Played by Jack Anthony Smart, Buttons is such a wonderful character. Sweet and lovable but so funny and with great mannerisms. Every line was delivered so well and there was humour in every action – the way Buttons walked around the stage really added to his character.
Some of our favourite parts of the show involved Buttons. We had to look after a gift that Buttons organised for Cinderella, keeping it safe and shouting if anyone got too close to it. So much fun! But, the biggest cheer came when Buttons, Prince Charming and the Fairy Godmother, played by Emma Hough, sang 12 Days of Christmas about different dance moves. Fast paced and fun, it had us all clapping and singing along. A performance within a performance and one we all really loved.
The classic pantomime dame was played by another familiar face, Matt Ian Kelly, who always puts on such a great show. Playing Baroness Hardup, he was domineering and wicked – just as an evil stepmother should be! He had us laughing constantly – especially at the Shoe Shine Shop tongue twister sketch!
Throughout Cinderella the costumes and sets were fantastic, really helping to set the scene for each part of the story. The choreography couldn’t have been better and the music and songs fit the show wonderfully – with a great mix of musical genres and familiar songs.
One thing we really loved was how the classic Cinderella story had been brought into the modern day with a few great twists. There was no pumpkin in sight and we loved the alternative that made for a really fantastic end to the first half. No spoilers on that front!
I often think, how can you make an old, much loved fairytale into a show that people want to watch even now. Well, Camberley Theatre have managed it. The Cinderella of 2023 is still lovely and traditional, with all those pantomime aspects that we have come to expect, but with twists and added sketches, gags and extras that keep the show fresh and new. This was a really lovely, current show for a modern audience. We loved it.
Like all classic pantomimes there was a fair share of innuendo but it was all really appropriate for a family audience – nothing too risque. The jokes just kept coming and all ages were laughing constantly. It really was a joy to watch.
I have to give a special mention to Martha Banks playing Charlie. She sang and danced amazingly well and we loved watching her perform. She took the lead on so many of the dances and the ensemble as a whole did a really great job. They worked so well as a team and helped put on such a fantastic show.
Cinderella: Final thoughts
We loved watching Cinderella this year. The show wasn’t short – two and a half hours including the interval – but it was well paced and didn’t feel very long at all, we enjoyed every minute. Everyone played their part in the pantomime perfectly and the show went without a hitch – aside from a little girl declaring ‘I hate you’ at a pivotal point for Baroness Hardup! We all laughed so hard!
If you’re looking for a pantomime to go and see this Christmas, make it Cinderella. Camberley Theatre is a fantastic venue and the show will leave you wanting to book something else to see immediately! It won’t fail to make you smile and put you in the festive spirit!
Cinderella is running until 31st December and you can book tickets over on the Camberley Theatre website.