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The funniest panto the girls had ever seen.

Byline: By Katharine Capocci

Cinderella at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle until January 21

Theatre-goers ended up having a ball at last night's dazzling performance of Cinderella.

With all the trademark lavish sets and over-the-top costumes we've come to expect from a Theatre Royal pantomime, this slick and very funny working of the classic rags-to-riches tale soon had us all in the festive mood.

Heading the cast this year is Gateshead's Jill Halfpenny who plays the Fairy Godmother in a performance that is nothing short of spellbinding. The former EastEnders star and winner of last year's BBC's Strictly Come Dancing has a lovely comic touch.

She had the audience in the palm of her hand from the word go.

And Jill gets a chance to show off some of her fancy footwork when we're treated to a stunning Strictly Come Dancing number.

The tale of Cinderella needs little introduction. Poor old Cinders is left slaving away while her ugly stepsisters ( and they weren't lying ( go off in their finery to Prince Charming's ball.

Cue the Fairy Godmother, who waves her wand, and we're treated to a magical `you shall go to the ball' scene, featuring the cutest little white Shetland ponies.

Cinderella is played by 17-year-old Washington girl Lauren Hall.

Lauren, who played Wendy in Peter Pan at the Theatre Royal two years ago, positively sparkles in the part.

Joining her are two of the best ugly sisters in the business. Nigel Ellacott and Peter Robbins have performed their roles together for 25 years ( and it shows!

They make a genuinely funny double act and don some fantastic costumes, that even manage to put Newcastle's Christmas lights in the shade.

And Danny Adams shone as a fresh, energetic Buttons.

My own Prince Charming was busy babysitting last night, so keeping me company were three delightful young reviewers.

Daughter number one, Serena, and her classmates Francesca and Madeleine, all aged nine, thought the show was the funniest panto they had ever seen.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 14, 2005
Words:330
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