Culture critic Madeline McInnis reviews Mindgame at the Belgrade, Coventry.Written by mmcinnis on 16th March 2018
Cinderella at The Birmingham Hippodrome
Gaming Editor Roshni Patel enjoyed some festive fun at the Hippodrome with their Christmas pantomime
Christmas is a special time of year, for family, festive yuletide, mince pies and of course the Panto! What Christmas would be complete without a comical retelling of a classic story, with its slapstick double acts, terrible puns and the side splitting jokes. Led by Wolverhampton born soul singer Beverley Knight as the fairy godmother and starring former Strictly Come Dancing contestant, Danny Mac as the Prince, and ex-Hear'Say vocalist Suzanne Shaw in the titular role of Cinderella, the show was star studded from the beginning. Also returning to the hippodrome for his 5th Qdos pantomime was Matt Slack, as Buttons, who was also joined by Ceri Dupree and David Dale as the ugly sisters, the comedic duo, The Grumbleweeds and Gary Watson. Only a few days into the show, it was clear the comedy was still fresh for Knight and Slack, who frequently paused their lines for laughter, be it for one of Slack’s quick fire stand up performances, or a double act filled with adult humour and well chosen musical clips.
“With its slapstick double acts, terrible puns and the side splitting jokes
Performed upon a perfectly panto set, with cartoonish backdrops, humorous props and well designed stage changing additions, this year’s addition of a balcony, stairs and arched exits, perfectly blended into the stage. Coupled with the fairy godmother’s sparkling firework aided entrance and Ceri Dupree’s hilariously designed ugly sisters’ costumes, and the entire production felt magical and very much like the humorous pantomimes we grew up with. Supported by The Hippodrome Orchestra, the music perfectly accompanied the panto, adding brilliant tracks to be highlighted by Knight’s talented vocals. Along with a hilarious pop parody and The Grumbleweeds’ musical comedy sketch, the music blended seamlessly into the performance.
“The entire production felt magical and very much like the humorous pantomimes we grew up with
For me however The Grumbleweeds’ made the show, with their first sketch sending me into stitches of laughter. I love the idea that while parts of it were scripted, they could just improvise and adlib whenever they felt like it, making it more topical and funnier for every performance.The only part of this hilarious production which I could possibly critique was their 4th wall breaking song, where they praised the Hippodrome. This song felt terribly out of place and a little awkward as it continued on and was repeated at the end, advertising the theatre further.
“The Grumbleweeds’ made the show, with their first sketch sending me into stitches of laughter!
Overall, this pantomime was another Qdos stunner and certainly worth a watch, Beverley Knight is magical, The Grumbleweeds are hilarious, the ugly sisters pull the funniest faces, while still looking fabulous in their comical outfits and Matt Slack tells the best jokes. A fun filled show for all, young, old and millennial.
Cinderella runs at the Birmingham Hippodrome from December 19th until January 28th 2018