Cinderella directed by Peter Duncan & Ian Talbot. At a cinema near you & available on line. 4****. William Russell

Peter Duncan of Blue Peter fame took to the boards a couple of years bag as Dame in a Park Theatre pantomime, but then came the pandemic and he followed it up with Jack in the Beanstalk filmed is hiw own back garden which was streamed. It was a success. His latest pantomime, Cinderella shot on more locations than the Duncan mansion grounds is being released in cinemas from 11 December and will also be available on line. The result is charming, funny, allows the audience to participate as that fourth wall gets regularly broken down and benefits from the fact that Duncan plays not the Dame but one of the Ugly Sisters. Truth to tell he is not a natural comedian and his previous Dames have been not all that funny, but he and Adam Price make a first rate double act, get some super gowns to wear, and things are helped by a delightful Cinders (Lucy-Jane Quinlan) and a terrific Buttons (Henry Roadknight). She sings beautifully, while Roadknight displays real comic skills and can turn his hand to anything.
It is not the greatest film ever – there have been many celluloid Cinderellas – but it catches the authentic spirit of pantomime perfectly. If a live show is not available and it is in a cinema near you then this would make the perfect family outing. The comedy routines work, the coach that takes Cinders to the ball ever so slowly has two magnificent white horses clearly more accustomed to funeral processions to pull it, and the original songs are eminently hummable. The result is a charming movie telling how Charming (Sam Ebenezer) meets his match.

Billie Eyelash: Peter Duncan.
Ariana Shande: Adam Price.
Baron Hardup: Ian Talbot.
Prince Charming: Sam Ebenezer.
Fairy Godmother: Sarah Moss.
Cinderella: Lucy-Jane Quinlan.
Buttons: Henry Roadknight.
Dandini: Miguel Angel.

Directors: Peter Purves & Ian Talbot.
Musical Director: Colin Cattle.
Songs: Lucy Duncan/Robbie Defacto; Peter Duncan; Henry Roadknight.
Choreography: Miguel Angel.
Set Design: Leydon Harrison.
Costumes: David Morgan.

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