Theatre, Panto
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
 (© Tristram Kenton)
© Tristram KentonKarl Queensborough (Charming)
 (© Tristram Kenton)
© Tristram KentonPeter Caulfield (Licious) and Matt Sutton (Booty)
 (© Tristram Kenton)
© Tristram KentonPeter Caulfield (Licious), Sara Crowe (Madame Woo) and Matt Sutton (Booty)
 (© Tristram Kenton)
© Tristram KentonPeter Caulfield (Licious), Sara Crowe (Madame Woo) and Matt Sutton (Booty)
 (© Tristram Kenton)
© Tristram KentonSamuel Buttery (Buttons) and Krystal Dockery (Cinderella)
 (© Tristram Kenton)
© Tristram KentonSamuel Buttery (Buttons)
 (© Tristram Kenton)
© Tristram KentonSamuel Buttery (Buttons)
 (© Tristram Kenton)
© Tristram KentonSamuel Buttery (Buttons)

The hippest panto team in town deliver the goods again.

Forget death and taxes, at the moment the only certainty in life is that ’Uptown Funk’ will be in every single panto in town. But the Lyric Hammersmith probably wins the award for getting it in earliest, offering a big song and dance number within about three minutes of the curtain going up.

Far from peaking too early, however, playwright Tom Wells’s take on ‘Cinderella’ grows as it goes while rising superstar director Ellen McDougall brings vim and ingenuity to each scene.

Hardly anyone is able to stay vertical on the slippery stage after a particularly frenzied slop scene, and Cinders’s transformation is a slick moment of magic as layers of twinkling fairy lights illuminate Oliver Townsend’s clockwork-inspired set.

But where others only do brashness, Wells and McDougall find tenderness too: so Cinders and Prince Charming meet over a sweet rendition of James Bay’s ‘Hold Back The River’. For the adults, Wells’ sscript is rammed with innuendos. For the kids there are fart jokes and dancing crabs.

His eyes like a rabbit in headlights, Samuel Buttery doesn’t quite have the confidence Buttons needs to whip the audience into a call-and-response frenzy, but he’s got a stonking set of lungs on him (he was on series one of ‘The Voice’) and he’s lobbing Maoam by the fistful, so who’s to complain?

And Buttery’s supported by a strong cast, particularly Sara Crowe as Cinderella’s Evil Stepmother Madame Woo. Hunched over herself and with a voice like Bernadette Peters’s evil twin, she has couldn’t-care-less comic villainy down to a tee. She revels in each evil line, and commands colossal boos from the willing audience.

As the wedding ends and the dancing starts, ‘Cinderella’ is proof if proof were needed that no one throws a party quite like the Lyric Hammersmith.

RECOMMENDED: More Christmas shows in London 

Find more festive fun with our guide to Christmas in London

By: Tim Bano


Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Staff Writer

The Lyric Hammersmith panto is always a delight and this year's offering is no exception. Its by far the coolest panto in town, favouring using members of their youth theatre over star casting, and including jokes that are current and hilarious. Its one for all the family with innuendo abound for the adults and the classic slapstick scenes of slipping and sliding over the stage for the kids. The song choices are current, the dance numbers slick and professional and they even get the audience to join in with them. I have been going to this panto for the past five years and seen it go from strength to strength - it remains my favourite London panto.