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Review: Cinderella at Ipswich Regent is a ‘smashing family outing’

PUBLISHED: 16:02 15 December 2019

Wayne Bavin, Mike McClean and Alex Runicles in Cinderella at The Ipswich Regent. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY

Wayne Bavin, Mike McClean and Alex Runicles in Cinderella at The Ipswich Regent. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY

LUCY TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY

“Daddy, can we go to the panto?”

Hannah Spearritt as the Fairy Godmother.in Cinderella at The Ipswich Regent. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHYHannah Spearritt as the Fairy Godmother.in Cinderella at The Ipswich Regent. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY

It is a sentence dreaded by parents across the land. I had managed to avoid this festive chore up until now but this year I could dodge no longer.

So the Regent's version of Cinderella it was accompanied by a 12-year-old teenager-in-training whose headphones are a permanent fixture, a nine-year-old who believes walls were invented for bouncing off and a sweet little four-year-old who keeps them both in check.

And I was dreading it. But within just a few minutes I had been won over. Something very odd happened - it was like I had, after years of being a bit of a Scrooge, caught Christmas.

This production is a classic pantomime - there is nothing radical or unexpected and it is all the better for that.

Mike McClean as Buttons  in Cinderella at The Ipswich Regent. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHYMike McClean as Buttons in Cinderella at The Ipswich Regent. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY

Mike McClean returns as Buttons but also as the director and his command of the whole productions is clear. And several of the gags were laugh out loud funny.

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Getting the balance right is tricky with an audience with an age gap but there is enough for mum and dad as well as the little ones.

He walks the line though - there is the odd bit of naughtiness. And quite right.

Cleo Demetrious as Cinderella and Adam Garcia as Prince Charming in Cinderella at The Ipswich Regent. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHYCleo Demetrious as Cinderella and Adam Garcia as Prince Charming in Cinderella at The Ipswich Regent. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY

The children were most excited by Cinderella herself - Cleo Demetriou from CBBC's So Awkward. I'd never heard of her to be honest but it seems among the target age group she is something of a star. "She was Matilda, as well," I am informed. I'd dodged that trip to the theatre as well but I am now regretting it.

The actress clearly had the youngsters in the audience onside before she even set foot on stage.

It really is a stellar cast right through with S Club 7's Hannah Spearritt as the Fairy Godmother and Adam Garcia - a West End dancer with a swathe of stage hits under his belt - as Prince Charming.

Of course no performance of Cinderella is complete without the Ugly Sisters expertly portrayed by Paulus and Gavin Ashbury. And special mention should also go to Wayne Bavin as Baron Hardup and Alex Runicles as Dandini whose skit midway though with Buttons makes no sense whatsoever but still had the audience in fits of laughter.

Cinderella at The Ipswich Regent. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHYCinderella at The Ipswich Regent. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY

This is a smashing family outing - and it is not just for the kids.

By the end I was even up dancing along myself. Congratulations to everyone involved - and to those who have already got a ticket, you are in for a treat and if you are a Scrooge when you go in you won't be when you leave.

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