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Barrow Panto Group's Cinderella

A Review by Eric Ellingworth

The Barrow Panto Group is celebrating 20 years of performances and this year offered the timeless classic ‘Cinderella’ but with a few new twists; the hero, Prince Charming, was male and not female as is normal, the wicked step-mother was a female but her darling daughters were male, and the donkey was… who knows what! It was a case of BGT - Barrow's Got Transgenders!

The script this year was written by Despair (Richard Bailey) yet it was always entertaining, funny, even ribald in parts; the audiences were well in-tune. It is difficult enough to provide nearly two hours of entertainment but each year the panto group just seem to get it right. There was song and dance, cameo roles and a storyline embellished by great characters. Shout-outs go to Velcro and Dandini, a sort of boys-about-village duo, a psycho appeared who would have been more at home as a cross between Blakey (On the Buses) and Boycie (Only Fools), the customary ghost who is always behind you. There were audience mumbles of ‘there's somebody at the door’, all brought to life by a very good sound system and band.

This critic particularly liked the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ parody sing-along which, despite toilet-rolls flying round the audience, was a platform for an Oscar-winning performance by Baron von Hardup. He imbibed Judith Rogers’ homemade moonshine at the end of each verse and produced a state of inebriation not seen since Lee Marvin in the excellent ‘Cat Ballou’. Bravo! Some other nice touches to the night were a halftime pre-order bar-service and, at the end, celebratory awards to long service members of over 20 years. There was loud and deserved applause for the director Abi Crossley and her production team. You do feel tempted, after these shows, to give acting a try.

Did I miss anybody? Well, the mice, who acted years ahead of their ages (see article on page 8) the donkey, last seen on the loose in Slash Lane, and the cat who was, at the end, the best behaved Tom in Barrow. Well done everybody. I felt my senior admission ticket was very well spent - even gave up Broadchurch for this. Next up is ‘The Sound of Mu...rder’. Mein Gott - nuns and nasties!

Eric Ellingworth