03:57PM, Thursday 10 December 2020
“Anticipation’s in the air,” sings Cinderella at Windsor’s Theatre Royal, and it really is.
Pantomime is such an important tradition to so many people and there was a definite sense of joy in the audience that we were, at last, going to the ball.
And we had one... From the moment Debbie McGee twirls onto stage as Fairy Twinkletoes, the baddies and the badness of 2020 seem to disappear.
We meet sweet and cheeky Buttons – played by Windsor favourite Kevin Cruise – and Basil ‘the Baron’ Hardup of Frogmore village.
Somehow famous Basil Brush is father to the beautiful Cinderella (Alice Fillary). Well – she does have auburn hair.
The baron’s hardupness is due to his stepdaughter, the Ugly Sister Lavitia, also known as ‘Lavvy’. Steven Blakeley has been a dame every Christmas here for 11 years and this year’s costumes are particularly inspired. The poodle perm one is just sublime.
Blakeley writes the show and has made a few nods to topical events but the experience is all about pantomime, not pandemic.
Live musicians, sumptuous costumes and a talented dance crew add to the glamour and escapist fun. My son thought the male dancers especially were ‘brilliant’.
I had wondered beforehand if social distancing would mean no live ponies for Cinderella’s carriage. I don’t want to give away what actually happens in the transformation scene but well done Windsor – it’s magic.
Police were called to the River Thames between Cookham and Bourne End yesterday at about 3pm, to reports that a teenage boy had entered the water but hadn’t been seen to leave.