“A FAB-U-LOUS night out!"

An invitation to a Crossroads pantomime is always something special; when it stars Craig Revel Horwood it promises to be Fab–u–lous.  Crossroads is one of the biggest panto production houses in the country and the offering they have brought to the New Wimbledon Theatre this year rates very highly on production values.  Quality costumes and sets, top class performers and music, bring the warmth of the Christmas season to theatre goers old and new.

Mr Horwood dons the frocks as the evil Baroness Demonica Hardup, giving a whole new twist to the Cinderella story.  The Baroness loves herself and certainly doesn’t need our love.  She seeks to dominate every scene she is in, insisting (of course!) on demonstrating her dance prowess.  However, the balanced is brought to the stage by the fun-loving comedian/magician Pete Firman.  While his best dance might well be the Birdie Dance, he certainly commands the stage every time he enters as Buttons.  Firman’s magic tricks are impossible to work out however close to the stage you sit, and his insistence that we will have a good time is infectious.

The story is ably introduced by Alison Jiear as the Fairly Godmother who blesses us with some powerful singing.  Daniel Norford (Dandini), Solomon Davy (Price Charming) and Cassie Compton (Cinderella) move the story along enough to remind us that there is actually a story behind all the madness in each scene.  The Prince, Cinderella and Buttons played the triangulated love scene on the bridge to perfection, (very much a ‘set piece’ of this story), never missing a note of the romantic love song whilst knocking each other off the wall onto the crash mat below.

With Craig Revel Horwood taking on the persona of a glamorous dame the Ugly Sisters (Claudia and Tess) played by Catherine Morris and Leanne Jones are left filling the story line gaps.  They are good, but are given minimal stage time. 

With spectacular sets, a band of five and a sound design that is to be applauded for allowing us to hear every word of some complex lyrics in some of the songs, this panto offers almost everything you want from a festive outing to the theatre. 

So what is missing? The company is well supported by an ensemble of eight talented dancers but sadly the decision has been taken to put their accompanying vocals on backing track.  This has the advantage that the dances can maintain and impressive energy but has the disadvantage of a lack of vocal nuance.  At best the dancers are singing along – at worst barely mouthing the words.  Panto inspires many a young person to go to the theatre again and we would have hoped to have seen the singing performed at its best which – in our opinion – is live. Still for the majority this is probably not a huge problem.

For a fab-u-lous night out in Wimbledon head to the New Wimbledon Theatre to see Cinderella before January 7th 2024.

This show was reviewed on the 11th December 2023.  Tickets available here: Cinderella Tickets | 2023 Panto at New Wimbledon Theatre | ATG Tickets

Review written by Paul Wood & Ian Worsfold


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