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Wednesday, 12 December 2018

REVIEW: Cinderella at the St Albans Arena

Writer Paul Hendy and Director Bob Golding continue their long association with the St Albans Arena with this wonderful fresh feeling production of Cinderella which sets off at a brilliant pace and the first half fizzes by delightfully. For some reason they cut back in the second half sticking to the basic elements only to keep the overall running time under 2 hours. It leaves you wanting more but feeling slightly short changed. The hilarious first half is driven along by two characters who are often walk on parts with Bob Golding an excellent Dandini, channelling his Eric Morecambe looks and comic timing to great effect and Ian Kirby ringing every ounce of comedy from Baron Hardup , here with echoes of Michael Palin at his comic best. The St Albans Arena audience know what to expect and respond loudly with a minimum of encouragement. We get the usual pun filled routine from a cart and of course the “legendary St Albans arena ghost bench.”

The script is packed with new sounding gags and plenty of old ones and references to the poor folk of neighbouring Luton and Watford, brilliantly signposted on every occasion. There is also a strong attempt to address the concerns of the Politically Correct Panto critics with two clever interventions from a "supremely self confident eight year old in the juvenile chorus” who takes centre stage to warn the principals about gender stereotypes and roles. As Hardup says “hasn’t Pantomime changed in last three years". 
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