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Cinderella | Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

It is officially that time of year again. That time when the harsh realities of everyday life are masked

by the spirit of Christmas. In the UK, nothing is more synonymous with Christmas cheer than a

pantomime, and boy, Yvonne Arnaud's Cinderella does not disappoint. Filled with bright and colourful costumes and slapstick humour, Cinderella guarantees magical fun for everyone. Starring

Eastenders’ Lucy Benjamin in the role of the wicked stepmother Baroness Hard-up, CBeebies star

James Merry in the role of Buttons, and Claudia Kariuki, who just ended a two-year run as Jane

Seymour in Six, in the role of the Fairy Godmother - this star-studded cast promises a night filled

with fun and talent.

The beauty of the panto lies in its ease to make people burst out in riotous laughter at the simplest

of jokes, or even at its musical puns, and that is something that this panto has certainly achieved to

the highest of standards. Despite some slower moments in act one, the book bounces back to the

top with a hilarious rendition of the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas,’ which, as predicted, involves the

audience in a wildly memorable moment. The standout performances were delivered by Peter

Gordon and Matt Pinches in the roles of the evil stepsisters, Thelma and Louise Hard-up,

respectively. With their over-the-top costumes and exaggerated voices, the sisters never failed to

bring a smile to the packed house – adult and children alike.

The vocal performances delivered by the cast, although technically impressive, were often

overridden by the acting, which really showed that the actors enjoyed the performance just as much as the audience did. The soundtrack for this show presented a mix of modern pop songs, with classic musical theatre numbers. I personally found that mix to be slightly imbalanced and would have liked to see a bit more musical theatre, however, that soundtrack often worked quite well and caught the audience’s attention, who were sometimes singing along with the characters.

The sets of this production were absolutely stunning, with beautiful curtains and lavish decors, it did

not fail to add to the magic of the overall show. Filled with bright colours and lighting, the set

perfectly represented the atmosphere of the room as everyone seemed simply amazed by its


This revival of the classic story brings a modern twist, whilst maintaining the age-old tradition of

classic panto, welcoming new characters, like Buttons, to the story of Cinderella and bringing a smile to everyone’s faces. If you should find yourself in the area, the Yvonne Arnaud’s Cinderella is a can’t miss production which is sure to brighten up your Christmas. It is currently playing at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford until the 7th January 2024, and tickets can be purchased here.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Craig Fuller


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