Fringe Box



Stage Dragon Review: Cinderella – Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Published on: 12 Dec, 2018
Updated on: 12 Dec, 2018

Cinderella (Georgie Leatherland) on her way to the ball

By Ferenc Hepp

Photos Simon Annand

It is that magical time of the year again when we decorate our houses, spend time with relatives we don’t see at any other time whether we want to or not, and boo and hiss at the baddie on stage. Oh no it’s not! Oh yes it is!

One of the most popular pantomimes, Cinderella, is the Yvonne Arnaud’s offering this year, written and directed by Jamie Smith, choreographed by Katie Beard and with musical direction by Bryan Hodgson.

Ugly Sisters (Nick Barclay and Peter Gordon) and Dandini (Jamie Brook)

A number of Arnaud favourites make a welcome return, including Michelle Gayle (Grange Hill and EastEnders) as Fairy Sweetness, Kit Hesketh-Harvey (Kit and The Widow) as Dandini, Jamie Brook (Guildford’s very own Brummie) as Buttons, and Eagle Radio’s Peter Gordon (better known as PG) as Coleen, one of the Ugly Sisters.

The “Totty” – (Peter Gordon and Jamie Brook)

The cast is completed by Nick Barclay as PG’s counterpart, Kimmy the other Ugly Sister, Georgie Leatherland as Cinderella, Cameron Burt as Prince Charming and a very talented chorus made up of youngsters from Laine Theatre Arts and Performance Preparation Academy, as well as the juvenile performers.

The set is bright and sparkly, the songs are current (I wonder how many other pantos this year feature numbers from The Greatest Showman) and all the traditional aspects of pantomime are featured. The choreography by Beard works well and is effortlessly performed by the ensemble.

High fives while poor old Cinders scrubs (Peter Gordon, Georgie Leatherland, Nick Barclay)

PG and Barclay have an excellent chemistry as the Ugly Sisters with wonderfully ugly facial expressions and are adorned by numerous crazy costumes designed by Jamie Attle, including a Christmas pudding and a Christmas cracker at the Ball. No wonder they call themselves the ‘Totty’ and sex symbols!

Brook is full of energy as a Brummie Buttons (this year) as always and has great rapport with the audience. Gayle was full of sweetness, however, some of the fairy magic was not quite evident in her delivery just yet, and occasionally the rest of the cast needed to let loose a bit more and allow for the audience reaction, as some of the punchlines and jokes were lost when they were spoken during laughter or applause. But I am certain that this will naturally evolve further into the run.

Michelle Gayle (Grange Hill and EastEnders) as Fairy Sweetness

A special mention must go to Hesketh-Harvey as Dandini. As he points out he is not booed for a change this year, but his comic timing, characterisation and one-liners are definite highlights of the show. A lot of his material is more for the adults, but this is just innocent innuendo and nothing to be worried about.

Be prepared to cheer, laugh out loud and get wet

He is described as the Prince’s aide-de-camp and that description is appropriate in many ways! Burt is about to graduate from Guildford School of Acting’s musical theatre course and with a beautiful tenor voice and charm, I am sure he has a very promising career ahead.

Be prepared to cheer, laugh out loud, get wet during the Twelve Days Of Christmas and join in Baby Shark with a show that is suitable for all the family with plenty of humour for children and grown-ups, who still want to be kids, alike.

The late James Barber

Quite rightly this production is dedicated to Jamie Barber, the theatre’s ex-director, who sadly passed away at this time last year.

Cinderella runs until Sunday January 6 and tickets are available via the website: or by calling the box office on: 01483 440000.

Share This Post

Responses to Stage Dragon Review: Cinderella – Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

  1. Valerie Thompson Reply

    December 12, 2018 at 7:32 pm

    I’m really looking forward to this. For my four grandchildren aged 10 and 8, Cinderella will be their first professional Pantomine. They have only seen their grandfather in amateur performances in the past. I can’t wait for their reactions.

  2. Valerie Thompson Reply

    December 27, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    Well, what a triumph!

    My littles were enchanted and laughed at all the jokes they understood, hopefully the rather more risque ones went over their heads.

    The sets were fantastic, wonderfully twinkly and full of interest.

    The costumes were magnificent…no expense spared.

    The principals all had good voices and carried their parts with great humour and vigour. Particularly clever was the 12 Days of Christmas “business”, and one has to applaud Buttons and Dandini as having exceptional appeal.

    Well done Yvonne Arnaud!

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *