Cinderella review at Beck Theatre, Hayes – ‘mostly soulless’

With Linda Robson in 2014’s panto and Pauline Quirke this year, all the Beck Theatre needs is Lesley Joseph for a Birds of a Feather full house. Quirke is the Fairy Godmother in this Qdos panto, a mostly soulless production that lacks pace and polish.

No one’s expecting Cinderella to be at the vanguard of theatrical innovation, of course, but something a bit less 'by numbers' wouldn't hurt. And by the time the interval hits, most of the plot has been covered so the second half is mostly filler – an unnecessary song medley, a strange re-hash of Abbot and Costello’s ‘Who’s On First’ sketch.

A couple of funny gags and a good way with the audience save Luke Baker's Buttons, who plays the part like an old-school club comedian. And Samuel Buttery, who played Buttons in the Lyric Hammersmith panto last year, is a much better fit as an ugly sister, a hideous grotesque alongside Richard Foster-King.

Apart from that, it underwhelms. The ensemble are a bit off in their dancing, Daisy Steere’s Cinderella is a bland, blank slate. It's just a matter of too many loose seams: the wobbling sliver of moon descending from the flies with Pauline Quirke gripping on tightly with a nervous grimace; Cinderella's strained, expressionless singing voice; a pace that drops dead at each scene change. It suffers from pretensions to lavishness that this mid-scale production can't quite meet