Event review: Fairfield Halls panto 2015: Cinderella, you shall go to the ball

By - Friday 11th December, 2015

Laughs, groans and cheesy punchlines. It’s panto time again, says Danielle Lowe

Image by Fairfield Halls, used with permission.

Panto always promises to be filled with laughter from the belly and sparkling costumes, and this year’s Cinderella at the Fairfield Halls is no exception.

The traditional story of the hard-working beautiful girl forced to do so many things by her ugly and wicked step-sisters is given a fun and updated twist thanks to writer Paul Hendy. Cinderella is just a country girl, thought by Prince Charming to be a servant, who wants to find true love and happiness.Played by Joanna Sawyer, her voice is exquisite as she sings a variety of songs and sparkles in the most gorgeous white dress that transforms colours as the lights hit it. You could see children mesmerised as she stood there on stage.

The big name in the show is Stephen Mulhern, who brings us the TV programmes Catchphrase and Britain’s Got More Talent, playing the cute Buttons who is besotted with Cinderella and will do anything to make her happy. In doing so he gets her to the ball with the aid of a flying white horse and even helps the audience to get into the wintry spirit by making it snow in magical ways.

It’s just not a panto without a bench in the woods

But for me the real star of the show was the fairy godmother, played by Lisa Davina Phillip, as she brought comedy, quality acting and perfect singing to the stage whilst delivering the lines given to her exceptionally well. Also those around me were giving her the highest praise which was well and truly deserved; you could feel the audience giving her so much love every moment she appeared on stage.

There were some classic panto moments included in the performance too. It isn’t panto without a bench in a woods and shouting, ‘He’s behind you!’. These days it seems pulling things out of a cart to string sentences together in a comical way has become increasingly common too.

It’s made personal for the audience by directly involving various members, and of course by throwing in the odd joke about various parts of Croydon. This year poor Thornton Heath takes the rap in those panto punchlines, as does the quality of neighbouring town’s panto performances. (We’re looking at you, Bromley).

All in all, it’s a magical night, full of stunning sets and beautiful costumes, full of laughs and groans at the cheesy punchlines that are suitable for all ages.

Cinderella is in the Ashcroft Theatre at Fairfield Halls until Sunday 3rd January 2016. Tickets start at £18.

Danielle Lowe

Danielle is a student at City University London and fascinated by all things food, culture, politics and sport. You can often find her in the food and drink section of Croydon Central Library. Lived in Croydon since August 2014. Find her on twitter @DanniiLowe.

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