REVIEW (From a distance): Cinderella Live – The Easter Panto

With many shop windows still containing Christmas displays, you may be forgiven for thinking that we were still in the midst of winter, rather than having just hit British Summer Time. In keeping with these topsy turvy times, Easter marks the start of panto season, with Panto Live remastering their hit show Cinderella Live for the Easter holidays.  Packed with new jokes and songs, Cinderella Live brings an immersive and interactive home experience through a live-stream performance.  We had a sneak peak last weekend.

It’s a pretty classic take on the story of Cinderella, written in traditional panto style but performed against a green screen that allows the actors to be transported to an array of virtual sets (which are constructed using the same gaming technology seen in popular video games such as Fortnite). The technical elements are very smooth and there are some nice effects but it did feel a little jarring in such a traditional panto, especially where the cast were all performing from the same location. We would probably have preferred physical sets (even of the low-tech variety) to give it that more authentic theatre feel. However, they did still manage to incorporate plenty of traditional panto traditions, with the audience able to clap, boo and more by pressing specially designed buttons. Viewers can also request shout-outs at the end of the show via social media and there is even an audience interaction segment, with some viewers logged in via Zoom.

The script is jam-packed with jokes, some of which are very funny but others don’t land quite so well, and the innuendo is barely concealed (fine with very small children but probably quite awkward if you are watching with savvy older children). The distance between the cast and the audience does sometimes make things feel a little flat compared to an in-person panto, but the munchkins enjoyed pressing the interactive buttons and yelling at the screen. The interactivity is definitely one of the main selling points of this panto, as is the ability to watch the show for free on demand afterwards. So if you miss bits, have internet issues or just want to watch again, you can do so to your heart’s content. Viewers also receive a printable activity pack which means even more stuff to keep the kids entertained, making the £14.97 ticket price pretty good value.

Cinderella Live – The Easter Panto runs live from 26 March to 4 April and then on demand from 5 April. We received free press access for this show.  

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