Harries, the quintessential panto dame, the Queen Mother of boobs and bustles, has swapped his outrageous frocks for the breeches of Baron Hardup in the new production of Cinderella – The Panto With Soul at Theatr Clwyd .
As he told the audience: “The only boobs will be when we get the script wrong”, and there are a few of those as the cast of 10 add to the hilarity of panto evening with fluffs and corpses.
Apart from that shock, the ingredients for a great night are still there: cheesy jokes and pratfalls,wicked stepmothers and greedy stepsisters, a raunchy aristocrat and a tender romance that bridges the class divide.
Theatr Clwyd’s rock ‘n’ roll pantos have been wowing audiences since some of today’s grumpy teenagers were bright-eyed little ones, full of wonder and excitement.
This year writer and creator Peter Rowe has handed the director’s reins to Matt Aston, while Judith Croft continues to design the sets and costumes that are a trademark of the pantos.
The cast of 10 work hard to make it a great evening, all of them playing multiple instruments, singing, dancing and acting their socks off, and involving the audience at every turn.
Phylip Harries as the Baron gets the chemistry going with James Haggie, who plays the downtrodden Buttons with his favourite squeaky voice and endearing characteristics.
Local lad Daniel Lloyd returns from the West End to play Dandini (international rock god) as a sort of Adam Ant in full Prince Charming kit, while Prince Charming himself is the powerfully-voiced Joe Vetch. Nicola Martinus Smith makes a delightful Cinderella, and Lindsay Goodhand is jazz-voiced Fairy Funlove, whose rhyming magic saves the day.
The Ugly Sisters are Alex Parry as Verucca and Dan Bottomly as Hernia, with just a bit too much grinding and bumping raunchiness for my taste for a family audience. And Amy Penston is the haughty wicked stepmother Rubella De Zees, provoking plenty of boos.
Special mention must be made of the Royal Messenger, William Pennington – a very small part, but a scenestealer as he heads to Prestatyn in search of a princess, and wins applause on and off the stage.
A great evening of fun, wonderful songs and your ears will be ringing at the end of it.
The panto is at Theatr Clwyd, Mold until January 23. Call 01352 701521