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By David Porter

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His Majesty's Theatre


CINDERELLA certainly whisked Aberdeen audiences off to the ball in style with the star-studded cast at His Majesty’s Theatre fully embracing the magic of panto.

Leading the ensemble was Baroness Heifer McHardup played by Aberdeen regular Alan McHugh whose outrageous costumes were matched with some rapier sharp call backs to the audience.

Teaming up with him this year was River City’s Paul-James Corrigan as Buttons acting as the perfect foil to the Baroness and taking on many of the characteristics that Jordan Young brought to this role in previous years.

Cinderella is played this year by the charming Rachel Flynn while Prince Charming himself is played by Paul Luebeke.

Taking on the parts of the step-sisters, Two Doors Down’s Joy McAvoy and River City star Sally Howitt delight in ramping up the panto villain roles.

From cutting words to chiding the audience at every turn, they are a pair of good old fashioned "baddies" that the entire audience delighted in booing at every opportunity.

No Prince Charming is complete without his Dandini and dancer and choreographer Louie Spence brought more than a little of his fabulousness to the role.

From twerking to ballet and through every other dance from in between, his talents were showcased including a hilarious dance-off, and recreation of Swan Lake, he had the crowd in stitches,

None more so than during the panto's regular tongue twister turn and an ensemble song and dance routine.

Of course no panto would be complete without a Fairy Godmother, this year in the shape of Aberdeen-born Call the Midwife star Laura Main.

Her performance showed not only her acting side but also her fantastic singing voice as she was joined on stage by the excellent backing dancers who make the magic of the show come alive.

The production itself is spectacular this year, with stunning costumes, most notable in the ball scene bringing a vibrancy to the stage.

Central to the tale is the transformation of Cinderalla so that she can go to the ball and the scene is handled with flair by the cast and includes some very Nightmare Before Christmas inspired pumpkin headed dancers before we see our heroine head off for the ball in her horse and coaches.

And the audience are in for a jaw dropping moment as the Fairy Godmother waves her wand to send her on her way.

Of course the audience in any panto are fair game for cast interactions and the sight of seeing themselves projected on to a large screen brings both waves of recognition and a fair bit of trying to hide in their seat behind the person in front.

As the Baroness said: "You bought front row seats for a panto, you knew what you were letting yourself in for".

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