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Cinderella at Bristol Hippodrome – How Camp?

Before it had even started there was a feeling that this pantomime was going to be special. I  can’t quite put my finger on it. I don’t have special allegiance to any of the cast, so that alone wouldn’t have drawn me in and Cinderella wouldn’t have been my obvious choice of show to take two young boys to.

We’ve been to the theatre more this year than ever have before and during serious musicals like Evita I’ve willed the boys, in true Victorian style, to be seen and not heard. But I suppose the pantomime is one show where the parents can really relax, because it doesn’t matter if our children are on their best behaviour – in fact it’s much more fun if they are a bit rowdy!
The night we went, the auditorium was packed with families, young children and a fair proportion of adult only groups. 
Some of the children were proudly wielding those battery operated whirly, flashy light things that they often sell on holiday at exorbitant prices. My children already know the answer, so they don’t even ask if I’ll buy them one any more. Yes, I know. I’m mean, but surely the world already has enough unnecessary plastic?
The atmosphere was buzzing and after a new year style countdown the curtain went up. The introductory song and dance was very boppy and reminded me of one of those holiday rep shows.
Cinderella at Bristol Hippodrome
As you might expect there were plenty of references to Bristol and a good smattering of “Cheers drive” and “My lubber”s.
Buttons demonstrated a handy device which translated posh accents into proper Bristolian with the press of a button.
At 7 years old Bubble picked up on the lavatorial humour.
“In Westbury they’re so posh they get out of the bath to have a wee.”
“That means he wees in the bath, does’t it Mummy” Snigger, snigger.
But I think I was relieved to see how much of the humour did go right over the children’s heads. Perhaps the caked on grotesque make up and gruff voices gave them a hint that one of the ugly sisters, (Graham Hoadly as Miley) might not be a lady after all, but Paul Burnham as the slender Tulisa could blissfully have got away with being female, in their eyes.
Ugly Sisters Tulisa and Miley
I’m not at all sure what the boys made of Louis Spence as Dandini. When he first entered, he pirouetted across stage and displayed his amazing flexibility by performing upside down splits with his legs above his body. It would have been hard to have made a camper entrance and he stole many of the scenes he was in because  – well, adorned in a variety of glittering outfits including shocking pink waistcoat, tights, and boots, a pink sparkly tunic, a sparkly pink top hat, and glittery tap shoes, it was hard to take your eyes off him!

Before the show we were all given 3D glasses and I don’t want to give too much away here, but suffice to say that as we were leaving, I overheard audience members exclaiming about how much they’d enjoyed that part of the show.

There were really no weak performers. Liz Robertson was convincing as the Fairy Godmother, Suzanne Shaw sang beautifully and was a strong Cinderella.
My 7 year old’s favourite character was the tall, fair and handsome Prince Charming.  Sometimes when I hear a  singing voice it hits me deep inside and triggers that strength of emotion which music used to evoke in my teenage years. I would certainly like to hear Andrew Derbyshire perform again.
Along with many others in the audience, the panto veteran Andy Ford was 9 Year old Trainboy’s favourite.
“I really liked Buttons because he was funny and he had a strange accent”

Cinderella and Dandini


This performance of cinderella is full of romance, glitter, glamour, base humour, elaborate costumes and an extravagant set. And yes it’s camp. Very camp.  There’s mincing aplenty.

A very professional and fun production – we loved it!


  • As usual, if you’re going with young children, a small booster seat for their chair might be handy.
  • Be prepared to spend a lot of money on a small, unnecessary plastic thing – or not. Bah, Humbug!


To read any of my other show reviews, please click the titles below

White Christmas


Starlight Express






Cinderella is currently showing at The Bristol Hippodrome from 06 Dec 2013 – 05 Jan 2014

Performances:  performance times vary please check website for details

Tickets: £10 – £35. Concessions available at certain performances

Tel Booking: 0844 871 3012 (bkg fee)

Online Booking: www.atgtickets.com/bristol  (bkg fee)

Group sales: 0844 871 3032 




Disclosure: We received tickets for the purposes of this review, but all opinions are mine and the boys





4 comments… add one
  • Sandrine 09/01/2014, 21:27

    Great review! I do think it was an amazing pantomime for both adults and kids. Adults could laugh at all the jokes the kids didn’t get! We did get asked some questions from our 7 year old such as “mummy why is “query” funny? How could I explain that it was play on words with “queer”. Anyway, what an energetic, fun and memorable panto! Let’s hope next year’s is as good!

    • Jane Batt 09/01/2014, 22:07

      Why thank you Sandrine. It’s nice to know that someone else has read it!!

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