Paul T Davies reviews Cinderella, this year’s festive treat from the Mercury Theatre who are staging this year’s panto in the Mercury Theatre big top at Abbey Fields.
Mercury Theatre at Abbey Fields.
7 December 2019
It’s not often you’re invited to a ball under a big tent in a field, but well done Mercury Theatre for still staging their Panto even while the main building is being redeveloped! And Cinderella is an absolute treat, the team creating a magical space and delivering a top-rate family show. Director Ryan McBryde has brought together a terrific team, and the energy from the stage fills the large arena with fun and joy- and, thanks to Magic Consultant Michael J Fitch, some truly magical moments. “What till you see the end of Act One” everyone was telling me beforehand, and they were right, it is an absolute highlight!
There’s the welcome return of Colchester favourites Anthony Stuart-Hicks and Dale Superville, playing the Ugly Sisters Kylie and Miley, and they are their usual hilarious selves. This double act is worth being in the tent alone, pitching adult humour so well without causing offence. They are so loved by Colchester audiences, it feels strange booing them, so chief Villain goes to Genevieve Nicole as Baroness Hardup, and she is an excellent baddie. Nicholas McLean is a brilliant Buttons, and what a singing voice, and he is matched by a range of superb vocalists, not least Deborah Tracey as a warm and funny Fairy Godmother and Nerine Skinner almost steals the show as Dandini, cross-dressing and hilarious. As the central love interest, Mari McGinlay is a loveable Cinderella and Jack Reitman an adorable shy Prince.
The technical team have pulled the stops out, and the Musical Direction by Nick Barstow is top-notch, how fitting that we get a song from The Greatest Showman whilst under a big top! Choreographer Charlie Morgan has created energetic, stage-filling routines, and the magic often spreads out into the auditorium. I realised watching this show that I would have missed this had it not happened. Well done Mercury for taking the plunge and moving the action to the Big Top. It’s only on until January 5th, so book now for an absolute festive treat!