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Oh yes we did! We’ve only gone and despatched Steven Smith to the south coast to check out the Pavilion Theatre’s star-studded panto, Cinderella.

If you can’t afford West End theatre prices this Christmas and live close enough to get to the seaside town of Worthing, why not treat yourself to a camp day or night out? Buy yourself some fish and chips and see the wonderful pantomime, Cinderella, playing at The Pavilion Theatre. You couldn’t find a funnier, more professional crew; and that’s the just the theatre staff!

The panto stars our very own diva, Nicole Faraday, as the wickedest of step-mothers, Evil Pat, whose rendition of Chicago’s ‘You be good to Mama’ may have had the kids scared but many of the dads a little hot in their seats. Is it really legal to show that much leg at a matinee? The part of Evil Pat was specially written for Faraday and had her booed all the way to Brighton. Strangely, Brighton’s prime venue, The Theatre Royal, has no panto again this year. Nicole brought pure, maniacally evil magic to the show, leaving the men, and some of the women, shouting for more.

Ian Waite from Strictly Come Dancing gives a tongue in cheek performance as Prince Charming’s faithful aid, Dandini. Prince Charming himself is a delightful hottie played by Mark Read from the boy band A1, with a voice that makes you wonder why he is not headlining in Vegas!

Strictly’s Ian Waite & Nicole Faraday

Kids’ favourite, Naomi Wilkinson from Channel 5’s Milkshake, lights up the stage as Cinderella herself. But alas, with such a brilliant vocal cast you are left wondering if her Fairy Godmother could chuck in a singing voice to go with the carriage, especially during the duet “Shadow” by Lady Gaga with Mark Read. Still, the kids were in love with her, and she makes a stunning leading lady.

If that was not enough, funny girl Katie Prichard as the Fairy Godmother wasn’t just funny, she has a voice that could compete with Adele! My companion and I almost fell out of our chairs as she belted out ‘Learn to Fly’ by the Foo Fighters.

Mark Jones gives a quintessentially brilliant performance as Buttons that had us all laughing, cheering and booing.

WC Fields famously stated never to work with animals or children (they are scene stealers!). Well, they should add Ugly Sisters to that list. The brilliant Oliver and Jake Snowdown are hilarious as Ivanna and Anita Tinkle – the Sisters Grim and daughters of Evil Pat. One of the best crowd-pleasing numbers was ‘Monster Mash’ in the haunted forest, sung by Buttons and Dandini and a scary ghost. To be honest, I have seen this done a hundred times, but they really pulled it out the bag, and even I was shouting “He’s behind you”.

This is a high energy show and a real crowd-pleaser. There is genuinely something for everyone of all ages in this gem. If you’re an adult, word to the wise; sit near the back to avoid getting soaked or snowed on! It’s a delight to watch but not good for the hair (or the Prada jacket).

Your correspondent with star Nicole Faraday and Sherrie Warwick

My pseudo wife, better known as Vera Dundee’s make-up artist, Sherrie Warwick, loved the show so much she has been asking to go again! Why not? No expense is spared in this extravaganza; spectacular costumes, special effects and talent ooze all over the stage and would make a Britain’s Got Talent judge wet themselves and reach for the golden buzzer.

In the hands of professionals, the Christmas Pantomime is a British tradition that we should all cherish and love. Cinderella in Worthing embraces all that is good about the tradition, and I look forward to it each year. After all, doesn’t everyone dream of a Fairy Godparent or their very own Prince Charming?

Cinderella runs until 5 January. More here.


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Steven Smith

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