Arts, Venue

Panto Time in Norwich

It’s that time of year again… Oh no it isn’t… oh yes it is… you get the idea. Whether you love or loathe pantomimes, they are a quintessential piece of British theatre and a Christmas past-time favoured by many.

Norwich Theatre Royal’s latest instalment is the classic tale of Cinderella. We were treated to all the usual delights of; a dame in the form of Richard Gauntlett taking on the role of Fairy Godmother, trusty narrator Buttons (played by Joe Tracini), and leading Lady Kara-Lianne Jones. Additionally, this star-studded cast included Casualty’s Amanda Jackson as one of the ‘ugly step-sisters’, Alexa, appearing alongside Alix Dunmore as Siri. The performance of the night goes to David Gant, partly for managing to fit a Shakespearean monologue into a panto, but also for the outstanding performance as Baron Hardup. Tracini did a good job at filling the rather large shoes left by Ben Langley.

The show was a crowd-pleasing and fun for all the family, with quick-witted comedy, audience interaction and the usual gaffs. The set was exceptional, and it went beyond what I expected to see at a pantomime, without giving too much away, with those famous creations conjured up by the fairy godmother added a truly magical touch. The costumes tied in perfectly with the story and sets, although I would have liked to see a more impressive range of wigs for the dame.

The chemistry between Tracini and Gauntlett led was remarkable leading to plenty of ‘belly-laugh’ moments as this comedy duo tickled us with their quick-witted humour. The live band added a layer of authenticity often missing from modern pantos.

Overall the show was enjoyed by all those that Concrete spoke to, including 7-year old Kitty, who had fun but did miss Ben Langley. We caught up with two UEA alumni who were impressed with the ‘flying’ elements of the show and delighted by the traditional panto-esque parts of the show including the slapstick comedy and colourful sets.

Norwich Theatre Royal invites you to join them “for the timeless tale of a rag to riches servant girl who falls in love with Prince Charming. Will she get together with the man of her dreams or will her nasty Sisters thwart her happiness? Expect magical twists, songs, fun, laughter and adventure with this stunning production.”

Cinderella runs until the 19th January with tickets available via the Norwich Theatre Royal Website or Box Office on 01603 630000.


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Roo Pitt

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June 2022
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The University of East Anglia’s official student newspaper. Concrete is in print and online.

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