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all about theatre four star review

This year's Rock 'N' Roll Panto at Liverpool's Everyman is Cinderella which has been written by Liverpool writer Luke Barnes and directed by James Barker. The panto doesn't follow the traditional Cinderella story and focuses more on the Dame Fairy Godmothers perspective. We learn that the Fairy godmother (Ben Welch) is all about helping couples find love so they can have a happily ever after. With one last mission to carry out before she can retire to Benidorm she enlists the help of her successor Graham (Adam Keast) in order to get a young girl called Ellanora (A.K.A Cinderella) (Grace Venus) to fall in love with a shy comic book loving Prince Charming (Thomas Fabian Parrish). 

Ben Welch (Dame Fairy Godmother) & Adam Kella the rock "Neast (Graham) in Cinderella the rock "n" roll panto

Ellanora Lives with her step-dad Mr Ooglay (Zoe West) and Sisters Dench (Folarin Akinmade) & Judi Ooglay (Rebecca Levy) who treat her badly and she is often left alone with just a couple of mice for friends. Ellanora likes to pass the time by drawing comic books and her most recent one is called Cinderella. In order to get Ellanora and Prince Charming to meet the Fairy godmother and Graham convince the Queen of Liverpool (Aminita Francis) to throw a party. Will Cinderella and the prince meet fall in love and live happily ever after or is their happily ever after different to what the fairy godmother was expecting.

Grace Venus as Ellanora in Cinderella the rock 'n' roll panto

The set was designed by Isla Shaw and consisted of what looked like a giant pumpkin shaped arch encompassing a two-story structure which housed the band on the top level and the bottom level featured a number of doors. This bottom level would be transformed in to Ellanora's house with the addition of some set pieces which are pushed on and rise up from the floor. There were some great additional set pieces/props such as Cinderellas carriage and a great carrot shaped car. The costumes were also designed by Isla Shaw and were brightly coloured and fun, just what you would expect from a panto. I particularly loved Ellanora's costume it looked so fun as if she had made it herself from lots of scrap pieces of fabric, it even featured patches which had some Liverpudlian slang words and sayings on them such as "Scally", "Thats Boss" and "Going For A Bevy".

Rebecca Levy (Humpty Dumpty) & Aminita Francis (The Queen) in Cinderella the rock 'n' roll panto

The Panto has a great sound track with something for everyone it features songs from the Spice Girls, Kylie Minogue, Whitney Houston, Beyonce and Demi Lavato to name just a few.

The Panto's Cast is just fantastic and they all seemed to be having a ball on stage and worked really well together. Many of the cast also made up the band and played multiple instruments as well as playing their characters. Ben Welch and Adam Keast make an excellent comedy duo as the Fairy godmother and her sidekick Graham however it is Ben Welch that stole the show for me, he gave a strong and confident performance and commanded the stage whenever he was on it, his comic timing was spot on and he had great vocals too. Another great performance came from Zoe West as Mr Ooglay Ellanora's step-dad, West's performance reminded me a lot of Mr Wormwood Matilda's dad in the musical Matilda, her comic timing was excellent and I loved the accent she used for the character. She also seemed to have a lot of fun encouraging the audience too boo her every time she was on stage. Playing Ellanora in her professional debut we had Grace Venus, Grace did an excellent job at getting the audience to warm to her character and was able to show the characters vulnerable side really well. Grace also got to show off some amazing vocals, a highlight for me was her rendition of Demi Lavato's Skyscraper. Another great vocal performance came from Aminita Francis as the Queen of Liverpool, her power house vocals on Whitney Houston's Queen of The Night were another highlight of the night.

Rebecca Levy, Zoe West & Folarin Akinmade as The Ooglays in Cinderella the rock 'n' roll panto

Cinderella is a fantastically fun family panto which will have you laughing out loud, it's witty with plenty of good one-liners, innuendos and regional jokes. It has an extremely talented cast and a great sound track which features some fantastic pop anthem which are sure to get you singing along. The story has a lot of heart with a message that being yourself and believing in yourself is what will bring you your happily ever after.

The Rock 'N' Roll Panto Cinderella is on at Liverpool Everyman until 20th January 2024, If you would like to find out more about the panto and book tickets you can do so by clicking on the button below.

Photo Credit - Marc Brenner

*Our tickets for this show were kindly gifted in exchange for an honest review


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