Stars in high spirits ahead of Waterside panto

Cinderella, starring Suzanne Shaw as the Fairy Godmother and Russell Grant as Baron Hardup, opens at the Waterside theatre in just two days.

And after having a privileged sneak preview of the show at rehearsals this week I can’t wait to see the show when I go along on Saturday evening.

Cinderella cast outside the Waterside Theatre

Cinderella cast outside the Waterside Theatre

The big opening number with Holly Brewer as Cinderella and a cast including children from Aylesbury’s Musical Kidz Company, is colourful, modern and uplifting on a sparkling set.

I can’t give anything away about the songs, but the one I heard certainly had my feet tapping and my body swaying.

The stars were all in high spirits as they sat in the stalls in full costume and make-up waiting for their turn to take to the stage.

Well, some of them were in full costume. I kept bumping into Dave Lynn and Tim Hudson, the exuberant actors playing the Ugly Sisters, as they were getting into character whilst wandering the corridors dressed only in their padded female body suits sans clothes.

Out in the auditorium the senior chorus guys, Matt Kennedy and Michael Anthony, were stretching their legs unbelievably high to loosen up in preparation for the opening number, whilst lighting and technical crew attended to last minute details.

In addition to starring in the panto, Suzanne Shaw has taken on the role of co-director alongside Chris Nelson, who also stars as Dandini, so they were fully occupied directing the cast as well as acting themselves.

Holly Brewer, who plays Cinders, assures us this year’s panto is completely different to the one that opened the theatre five years ago.

She said: “It’s a new show, the cast is completely different, so every role is played in a different way with new jokes, songs and dances.

“Andrew Derbyshire, a semi finalist on Britain’s Got Talent, who plays my Prince Charming is absolutely gorgeous, a lovely person and very talented with an amazing voice.”

Holly has of course performed before at Aylesbury Waterside pantomimes, and said: “It’s like coming home, when I am here Aylesbury is my home, and it has a very special place in my heart.”

We caught up with Russell Grant in his dressing room as he was stepping into his Baron Hardup costume and he said: “I will be doing a samba in the show, and I can’t wait to do it.

“Today in rehearsal I was so overcome by the music the first time I heard it, it was orgasmic, and I forgot all the steps and danced freestyle.

“But I know the steps and I dance it with an ensemble, so I will be step perfect at the performances.”

Aylesbury’s very own Andy Collins is playing lovable Buttons and says his recent bout of amateur boxing has ensured he is fit to take on the physically demanding role of Cinders’ best friend.

The pantomime opens on Friday (December 12) and runs through to SundayJanuary 4 with evening and matinee performances. There are no performances on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day or on Mondays December 15 and 22.

Tickets cost from £10 with special discounts for family groups, super groups, seniors, schools and uniformed groups. The box office number is 0844 871 7607.

For full details of all performance dates, times and ticket prices see www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury