Pantomime review: Cinderella, Cork Opera House

Cinderella at Cork Opera House. Picture: Clare Keogh

****

He’s geeky, asthmatic, wears glasses, and Richard the Lionheart he ain’t. Yet despite possessing few of the traits we expect of fairytale royalty, there’s no denying this year’s Prince Charming in the Opera House’s Cinderella production, is a star attraction.

Barnaby Hughes, whose screen credits include the BBC’s Luther, puts a fresh spin on a well-worn fairytale, resulting in a couple of hilarious scenes, particularly when sharing the stage with Frank Mackey, who as ever, puts in a flawless performance as the Dame, or in this case the character of Fairy Wanda, Cinderella’s godmother.

This year’s pantomime sees a return to live music after a one-year hiatus, and really, there’s no beating the real thing. Dance routines were impressive and costumes and set design sumptuous. There was also super use of backing tracks, particularly during a rollicking chase to recover Cinderella’s glass slipper.

A special word of praise goes to the set designers for two particular moments of magic, the first at the start of the show, and again, when Cinderella departs for the ball and Pegasus takes centre stage.

My kids gave a thumbs-up to Buttons, played by Adam Colbeck-Dunn, and they showed no signs of flagging throughout the drama, despite the show running for 7pm to 10pm. Personally, I found the second half more enjoyable, with some fantastic slapstick, involving Prince Charming, Barron Hard-up (Michael Grennell) and Fairy Wanda.

Molly Lynch as Cinderella is perfectly cast and an excellent foil for the Ugly Sisters, Booty (Aisling Breen) and Licious (Valerie O’Leary).

With its usual smattering of topical jokes and plenty of double-entendres, the script had appeal for all ages.

Family passes range from €80 to €100, so it isn’t cheap, but it’s a great chance to get down with the kids and indulge in the kind of dancing you no longer get to practice on the dance floor.

And to be fair to all involved, this is a hugely enjoyable production.


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