Cinderella: another laugh riot from King's Theatre (4 stars)

Cinderella: King's panto is bigger and shinier than ever

credit: Douglas Johnson

King's panto is bigger and shinier than ever

Its lead character may be down at heel but there's nothing remotely poverty-stricken about this year's King's panto. Quite the opposite, in fact, with wall-to-wall pyrotechnics, lavish costumes and a coach and horses flying scene suggesting a show budget that would keep most local pantos going for the next 50 years.

Producers Qdos Entertainment seem to be on a constant quest to outdo themselves each Christmas, and Cinderella is quite possibly their best effort yet. It looks gorgeous, sounds great (with particularly strong vocals from James Darch as Prince Charming) and has the proverbial something for everyone. Long-running gags trotted out year after year (much to our collective delight) rub shoulders with smatterings of zeitgeist, so that everyone from primary schoolers up to pensioners has something to laugh at.

Because, of course, much as everyone loves the shiny frocks, fireworks and falling snow, it's the humour that has audiences re-booking for the next one in early January. That, and the sight of dame Allan Stewart's dainty legs covered in American tan tights. For it is he and his stalwart cohorts, Andy Gray and Grant Stott that make the King's panto what it is – a laugh riot. The comic timing, physical slapstick, 'accidental' slip-ups that only the most naive don't recognise for the scripted gems they are – are all delivered as if they've been doing it for years, which they have.

The trio, as Fairy May, Buttons and Baroness Hibernia Hardup respectively, are a joy to spend an evening with – even when they're wheeling out previously seen routines. Add a touch of romance, a few re-worked pop tunes, clever audience interaction and once again, the King's panto has us looking forward to the 2018/19 show already.

Reviewed at King's Theatre, Edinburgh

Cinderella

Pantomime fun featuring Allan Stewart as Fairy May, Andy Gray as Buttons and Grant Stott as Hibernia Hardup.

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