Hall For Cornwall, Truro
Review by Lee Trewhela
THE annual moan among the people of Kernow is that the Hall For Cornwall panto never has any “stars”.
Well, if that means a hugely enjoyable, laugh-out-loud, professional show instead of some dork from Made In Chelsea singing badly, then I’m all for the lack of celebrity.
And, anyway, as anyone who saw last year’s Aladdin and the current madcap version of Cinderella will tell you, the HFC has its own stars – Granville Saxton, a renowned character actor of stage and screen, is quite brilliant as Botoxica, Cinders’ ugly stepsister, and our own actor on the rise Dean Nolan is a hugely likeable presence as Buttons.
There’s a double whammy of comedy this year – Granville, looking remarkably similar to Dot Cotton, is joined by the equally superb Daniel Cane as Detoxica, the other ugly stepsister.
The two own the stage, riffing off the audience and supplying some wonderful slapstick and a fine array of double entendres; there is one joke in particular, which is probably the naughtiest ever seen in a panto. Fortunately, it went over the heads of 92 per cent of the audience.
Writer Andrew Emerson treads the line perfectly between tradition, childish silliness, adult humour and the need to keep it local; there’s even a nod to the nightmare that is the new Trafalgar roundabout in Truro.
Want an example of the groaners on display? Botoxica wears her Truro FC bra as “there’s plenty of support but no cups to speak of”. I thank you.
Granville’s real-life wife Joanna Monro, who many will recognise from her days as a nurse in Angels and as a presenter on That’s Life, plays the Fairy Godmother with a twinkle in her eye, while Nichola Lagan does a good job of stepping in late to take over the title role and is sweet without being too saccharine.
The leading man is usually there to be pretty and not much more, but Sweden’s Andreas Gyllander, fresh from Mamma Mia! in the West End, has an easy charm and a decent singing voice as Prince Charming.
Throw in Stephen Hendry look- and sound-alike Stuart Maciver as Dandini, Stan Pretty as bumbling Baron Hardup, a hardworking ensemble of four actors / singers / dancers and the engaging Cornish kids, and you have a wonderful festive show.
There are some surprises, which I won’t ruin, but Cinders’ mode of travel is really rather spectacular.
The HFC pantomimes get better each year. Oh yes they do ....
Cinderella runs until January 11 – see www.hallforcornwall.co.uk for booking details.