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Guildford Pantomime 2018: Cinderella

The annual Guildford Pantomime is back for Christmas 2018 at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre and this year it's Cinderella 🎭

What is the Yvonne Arnaud Pantomime, Guildford?

A magical set, sparkling costumes, a stunning live band and some utterly adorable real ponies make this year's Guildford pantomime at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre one you certainly don’t want to miss.

With such a fabulous Fairy Godmother in charge, we’re pretty confident that luck is on Cinderella’s side and, in spite of the antics of her Ugly Sisters, she just might get to go to the ball – but what about you? Will you join them on this fairytale adventure?  You’d be a pumpkin to miss out.

Read More: Surrey Theatres Nominated For Great British Panto Awards

Cinderella
Eagle Radio's Peter Gordon stars in his 13th Guildford Pantomime, Cinderella in 2018.

Who is starring in the Guildford Pantomime?

Artist, actress and songwriter Michelle Gayle brings stars as the Fairy Godmother - you may remember her as Hattie Tavernier in Eastenders. She has more recently had a successful music career with top-10 hit singles and three BRIT Award nominations. Michelle Gayle has also has played Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in London’s West End.

Read More: Michelle Gayle Announced To Perform At Guildford Panto

Pantomime regular and cabaret performer Kit Hesketh-Harvey returns to play royal right-hand man, the majestic but meddlesome Dandini. 

Eagle Radio’s Peter Gordon has dragged his partner in Panto crime Nick Barclay on a dubious shopping spree... Clad in wild wigs and funky frocks, this truly gruesome twosome make the perfect Ugly Sisters. We're starting to worry about PG's wardrobe now.. he's been doing this for 13 years! 💄👗

Watch: The Funniest Moments Of The Peter Gordon Breakfast Show

Guildford’s favourite Brummie Jamie Brook makes a welcome return, water pistol in hand, as Cinderella’s best buddy, Buttons. After an enchanting performance as Tommy the Cat last year, Georgie Leatherland returns to Pantoland to star as Cinderella and prove that wishes really can come true.  Guildford School of Acting student Cameron Burt will play the dashing Prince Charming.

Characters in the Yvonne Arnaud pantomime Guildford
Michelle Gayle, Recording Artist and former Eastenders regular joins the Guildford Pantomime cast as the Fairy Godmother.
Characters in the Yvonne Arnaud pantomime Guildford
Our very own Peter Gordon stars as an Ugly Sister alongside Nick Barclay.

When is the Guildford Pantomime?

The Yvonne Arnaud Pantomime runs from 19:00 PM on Friday 7th December 2018 - 17:30 on Sunday 6th January 2019 🎄

 

There are a number of bargain performances on:

  • Friday 7th December at 19:00PM
  • All performances Tuesday 11th December - Friday 14th December
  • All performances Tuesday 18th December & Wednesday 19th December
  • All performances Wednesday 2nd January - Friday 4th January

Relaxed Performances 

Thursday 20th December 1:30PM performance of the Yvonne Arnaud Pantomime is a Relaxed Performance.

Relaxed performances are open to everyone, but the environment has been specifically adapted for families with children with an Autistic Spectrum Condition, individuals with sensory and communication disorders, those with learning disabilities and anyone who would benefit from a more relaxed environment. 

Tickets for the relaxed Yvonne Arnaud Pantomime performance are £13.00.

Characters in the Yvonne Arnaud pantomime Guildford
Jamie Brook makes a welcome return as Cinderella’s best buddy, Buttons.

Guildford Pantomime

Georgie Leatherland returns to The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre to star as Cinderella.
Will you join them on this fairytale adventure? You’d be a pumpkin to miss out.

How much are tickets to the Guildford Pantomime?

📣 Tickets for Guildford's Yvonne Arnaud Pantomime Cinderella are on sale now.

 

Book your tickets today by calling the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre Box Office on 01483 44 00 00. You can also book your tickets to the Yvonne Arnaud Pantomime here: www.yvonne-arnaud.co.uk.

Standard performances:

  • Stalls - £29.50
  • Circle - £28.00

Bargain performances:

  • Stalls - £23.50
  • Circle - £22.00

Children under 16 for £5 off all seats for all performances.

Schools tickets are £10 for all bargain performances. Plus you will receive 1 free teacher for every 10 students.

Tickets for the Relaxed Performance are £13.00.


Reviews of the Guildford Pantomime

Fairy Powered Productions

4****

This is a fully inflated panto with two caricature dames centre stage. There are classic annual scenes that the audience know are coming and give a cheer of anticipation. Alongside traditional panto shenanigans and terrible jokes, you have current tunes from The Greatest Showman and Baby Shark. Entertaining, however I have seen better written scripts that allow a smoother flow in the performance.

Buttons (Jamie Brook) is a lovable character, played just silly enough so that the children in the audience instantly liked him. Georgie Leatherland (Cinderella) and Cameron Burt (Prince Charming) are your average star crossed lovers, giving the story line its substance.

Stand out performances go to The Ugly Sisters, Coleen (Peter Gordon) and Kimmy (Nick Barclay) who are a little more aggressive in their bullying than I have seen before, ramping up their evil roles. This is complemented by their hilarious facial contortions, oversized costumes
and wigs.

By far the best performance of the night for me goes to Kit Hesketh-Harvey (Dandini), struggling to play nice when he usually plays the villain! His liquid tones draw you in to an adult world of humour that you cannot resist. This is counterbalanced by Michelle Gayle (Fairy Sweetness) and her dulcet tones.

Director Jamie Smith and his creatives have created a feast of sparkles and colour for the eye, with slick scene changes and a variety of music. The ensemble danced and sang beautifully, bringing the whole thing to life. Generally a good offering for the festive season.

 

The Reviews Hub

Christmas in Guildford only properly begins with The Twelve Days of Christmas, as performed by the Yvonne Arnaud panto: an annual ritual of mayhem and misrule in which custard pies are thrown, knickers hurled and foam and water sprayed in all directions.

This year, under the direction of Jamie Smith, things seem a little slicker  – though not too slick – and I am happy to report that the Twelve Days is as riotously silly as normal. All the Yvonne Arnaud favourites are back: Eagle Radio’s Peter Gordon as Ugly Sister Colleen; Jamie Brook as a lovesick Brummie Buttons, mooning over Cinderella; and the inimitable Kit Hesketh-Harvey as Dandini.

Hesketh-Harvey has gone ‘a whole year without the boos’ and is reborn as a good guy: Gentleman of the Bedchamber to the Prince. Naturally, Hesketh-Harvey extracts maximum fun from Dandini, a decidedly camp aide-de-camp. But his normal villainy is missed: come back next year, Kit, with the boos.

Georgie Leatherland returns as a crowd-pleasing Cinderella, while Cameron Burt, in his final year of training at the Guildford School of Acting, is Prince Charming. Also starring is actress and singer Michelle Gayle, as the magical Fairy Sweetness.

This is a charming, traditional panto, shot through with silliness and sparkle. Eagle-eyed children may spot the horse-box parked outside the theatre; for, in an enchanting scene, Cinderella is transported to the ball in a coach pulled by a pair of snow-white ponies.

Costumes are superb, especially for the Ugly Sisters, culminating in Peter Gordon dressed as a Christmas pudding and his ‘twin’ Kimmy (Nick Barclay) as a full-length Christmas cracker. There is great fun along the way as the sisters get ready for the ball, with Kimmy enlisting the help of a Henry Hoover to produce the world’s most gargantuan trout pout.

Songs include The Greatest ShowShut Up and Dance With Me and Baby Shark, performed with gusto and accompanied by a live band led by ‘Uncle Bryan’ (musical director Bryan Hodgson). Joining the cast are a host of talented juvenile performers: particularly effective in a scene in which, dressed as woodland animals, they dance with Cinderella.

The production is dedicated to James Barber, the Yvonne Arnaud’s former director and chief executive, who died suddenly during last year’s panto. This radiant and rumbustious production in his memory is not to be missed.

 

The Stage

This year’s Yvonne Arnaud pantomime features all the traditional ingredients, along with the spicy wit of a stand-up show.

Writer and director Jamie Smith’s production has something for everyone. From the eyeball-searing pink glitter of the castle ballroom to the grungy tanning salon favoured by the Ugly Sisters, no expense has been spared in this lavish and entertaining production.

Top of the bill is TV and pop star Michelle Gayle as Fairy Sweetness, a vision in silver spangles who appears in a volley of fireworks. But the real stars are hard-working Buttons (Jamie Smith, under his stage name Brook), the raven-haired Cinderella, a lovely unaffected performance by Georgie Leatherland, and Prince Charming, played with wide-eyed charm and a streak of naughtiness by Cameron Burt.

Cabaret king Kit Hesketh-Harvey brings his trademark sardonic wit, dripping with double-entendres, to the role of Dandini. The Ugly Sisters, Peter Gordon and Nick Barclay, are intent on bagging “any man with a pulse”, and their off-colour jokes and insults contrast with Buttons’ good-natured Brummie slapstick.

No Guildford panto would be complete without two cute miniature white horses and the battle of the 12 Days of Christmas. That’s when the Ugly Sisters smother Buttons with custard pies and he in turn spreads foam around the audience, to the delighted squeals of the children. There’s also a water cannon, so avoid the front six rows if you don’t like getting wet.

The wall scene is a real highlight; Prince and Cinders’ first duet is interrupted by a jealous Buttons. Jostling for Cinders’ kisses they push each other off the wall in an exhaustingly funny round of shoving, scrambling and harmonising.

The singing and dance sequences, by a well-schooled ensemble and some very small children, are as good as any West End show, and the unseen band, under Bryan Hodgson keeps the music flowing and the feet tapping. I left the theatre with the infuriatingly catchy Baby Shark song lodged in my head, and a feeling that the future of panto is rosy.

 

Guildford Dragon

It is that magical time of the year again when we decorate our houses, spend time with relatives we don’t see at any other time whether we want to or not, and boo and hiss at the baddie on stage. Oh no it’s not! Oh yes it is!

One of the most popular pantomimes, Cinderella, is the Yvonne Arnaud’s offering this year, written and directed by Jamie Smith, choreographed by Katie Beard and with musical direction by Bryan Hodgson.

A number of Arnaud favourites make a welcome return, including Michelle Gayle (Grange Hill and EastEnders) as Fairy Sweetness, Kit Hesketh-Harvey (Kit and The Widow) as Dandini, Jamie Brook (Guildford’s very own Brummie) as Buttons, and Eagle Radio’s Peter Gordon (better known as PG) as Coleen, one of the Ugly Sisters.

The cast is completed by Nick Barclay as PG’s counterpart, Kimmy the other Ugly Sister, Georgie Leatherland as Cinderella, Cameron Burt as Prince Charming and a very talented chorus made up of youngsters from Laine Theatre Arts and Performance Preparation Academy, as well as the juvenile performers.

The set is bright and sparkly, the songs are current (I wonder how many other pantos this year feature numbers from The Greatest Showman) and all the traditional aspects of pantomime are featured. The choreography by Beard works well and is effortlessly performed by the ensemble.

PG and Barclay have an excellent chemistry as the Ugly Sisters with wonderfully ugly facial expressions and are adorned by numerous crazy costumes designed by Jamie Attle, including a Christmas pudding and a Christmas cracker at the Ball. No wonder they call themselves the ‘Totty’ and sex symbols!

Brook is full of energy as a Brummie Buttons (this year) as always and has great rapport with the audience. Gayle was full of sweetness, however, some of the fairy magic was not quite evident in her delivery just yet, and occasionally the rest of the cast needed to let loose a bit more and allow for the audience reaction, as some of the punchlines and jokes were lost when they were spoken during laughter or applause. But I am certain that this will naturally evolve further into the run.

A special mention must go to Hesketh-Harvey as Dandini. As he points out he is not booed for a change this year, but his comic timing, characterisation and one-liners are definite highlights of the show. A lot of his material is more for the adults, but this is just innocent innuendo and nothing to be worried about.

He is described as the Prince’s aide-de-camp and that description is appropriate in many ways! Burt is about to graduate from Guildford School of Acting’s musical theatre course and with a beautiful tenor voice and charm, I am sure he has a very promising career ahead.

Be prepared to cheer, laugh out loud, get wet during the Twelve Days Of Christmas and join in Baby Shark with a show that is suitable for all the family with plenty of humour for children and grown-ups, who still want to be kids, alike.

 

British Theatre Guide

Full of glitz, glam and gags galore the Yvonne Arnaud’s 2018 version of Cinderella whisks audiences into Pantoland for an evening of pure escapism.

Largely following the traditional panto plot, Fairy Sweetness (a bubbly Michelle Gayle) welcomes the audience and in the first few scenes we are quickly introduced to Cinderella, Buttons and of course the Ugly Stepsisters. Whilst their entrance might be in a car, it’s the ingenious appearance of Buttons that really gets the magic started.

Ever the showman, Jamie Brook’s loveable Buttons quickly has the audience on his side and his infectious energy radiates throughout the entire auditorium. He ensures the pace bounces along but isn't afraid to milk an odd comedy line or two.

Ugly Sisters Kimmy (Nick Barclay) and Coleen (Peter Gordon) are joyously grotesque; smarmy and mean with suitably outrageous costumes and easy dynamic. Their version of "Born This Way" followed by "Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves"leads nicely into silly beauty parlour antics with Buttons that contrast well with their callous behaviour towards Cinderella.

In the title role, Georgie Leatherland is charming and innocent, pitching her performance carefully, being every inch the leading lady but without making the character too dominant. In the often-tricky role of Prince Charming, Cameron Burt chooses to play it earnestly giving their brief interactions a delightful wholesomeness.

Whilst the romance is sweetness and light, it’s not mawkish however, thanks to the main love song "All of Me" becoming a great comedy number with Buttons muscling in on the act.

The only performance slightly at odds with the overall tone is Kit Hesketh-Harey’s acerbic Dandini. With some great waspish one-liners and a withering stare, he very much makes the part his own, but jokes about the fact he’s taking a year off from being the baddie are lost on the children in the audience. They did, however, enjoy his totally unnecessary but fabulous version of "I Am What I Am" complete with chorus line kicks.

Joining the principles are a talented ensemble of ten who transform from villagers to ball guests and even play a ghost or two. Their presence gives the musical numbers a rounded sound and they execute Katie Beard’s energetic choreography with ease. Without exception they all look out for the junior members of the cast too. The determined junior chorus perform with gusto and are given several chances to shine.

Act I of Cinderella is generally the longer act and in this case is a musical number or two too long for some of the younger audience members. Act II, however, is a whirlwind of laughs with the always hilarious and incredibly boisterous "12 Days of Christmas" (watch out for shaving foam and lots of water!) and the obligatory bench scene breaking up the funky ball and romantic finale.

Jamie Smith’s script is lovingly crafted with nods to classic jokes (“Air, Hair Lair”) but a sprinkling of modern references that sit neatly alongside. Although very much a children’s show, there are also a few cheeky asides that are bound to raise a chuckle from parents.

With a set that literally twinkles, a transformation scene complete with ponies, a plethora of musical numbers and countless opportunities to shout out there’s no pantomimic stone left unturned.

The true reviewers in the audience though are of course the children and Cinderella had them literally screaming with delight.

I was joined on press night by junior reviewer Luna (age 5) who summarised her experience as follows: “my favourite bit was when the Fairy Godmother did her magic and gave Cinderella her pretty dress. My second favourite part was when they sang and fell off the wall. Buttons was really funny and I liked the water and custard.”

She concluded that there wasn’t anything she didn’t like and that it was a 5* show.

A fitting tribute to the late Jamie Barber, this is a sparkling pantomime offering beautifully formulaic family fun.

 

You know Christmas is well and truly on its way when pantomime season begins, and this year’s offering from the Yvonne Arnaud in Guildford is Cinderella.

Regulars know what to expect – a madcap, rip-roaring rendition of the story that fully embraces the traditional formula of a British pantomime and this year’s offering doesn’t disappoint.

Everyone’s favourite panto gang is back: Eagle Radio’s Peter Gordon and Nick Barclay return to take on the roles of Cinderella’s Ugly Sisters with ‘Guildford’s favourite Brummie’ Jamie Brook playing the role of Buttons.

Kit Hesketh-Harvey, however, is all confusion - rather than warranting his usual ‘boos’ as a baddie we love to hate, he plays Dandini, the prince’s aid-de-camp (with the emphasis being very much on ‘camp’). As a group that has worked together for more years than they can probably remember they have chemistry galore, delighting the audience with non-stop jokes and banter.

EastEnders star Michelle Gayle joins the cast this year as Fairy Sweetness, Cinderella’s fairy godmother and Georgie Leatherland return after last year’s fabulous stint as ‘Tommie the Cat’ to play an engaging Cinderella, ably supported by her dashing Prince Charming (Cameron Burt).

Jamie Smith returns to write and direct and has surpassed himself in making it feel fresh and new, squeezing in favourites from ‘The Greatest Showman’, as well as a cheeky rendition of ‘Baby Shark’. A particular highlight is the brilliant ‘Wall scene’ which begins as a cheesy duet between Prince Charming and Cinderella, but quickly turns into a hilarious battle for Cinder’s attention by the Prince and Buttons, and culminates in Cinderella giving as good as she gets.

Jamie Brooks can really work an audience, engaging with over-excited children as well as delivering hilarious returns to the odd heckle. Peter Gordon and Nick Barclay are as brilliant as ever as the buxom Ugly Sisters looking for a man (any man!) and sardonic Kit Hesketh-Harvey has the audience in stitches as always, relishing his habit of picking out a victim from the front row: “Debbie from Sutton? Never been there, never will!”

The group’s ‘special’ version of the Twelve Days of Christmas is worth the ticket price alone and elicits even more screams of excitement this year due to Buttons happily flinging custard pie cream all over the audience and brandishing his brand-new weapon – the “Soak-A-Tron”. Beware if your tickets are for the first few rows of stalls.

As for wow factor – how about making some adorable tiny white ponies magically appear to pull Cinderella’s carriage?

So, if you fancy a traditional madcap raucous pantomime, head on over to the Yvonne Arnaud and enjoy Cinderella – it’s simply brilliant family fun.

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