Cinderella, Richmond Theatre, London, December 2011

Could Prince Andrew’s daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie have thought that their appearance at the Royal Wedding in those eye-catchingly frightful hats would place them in the pantomime roles of Ugly Sisters? Surely not. That would be taking publicity-seeking too far.

Buttons and Cinders, all photos Simon Annand

Yet I imagine the Richmond Cinderella is not the only one to use their names, as well as producing copies of the hats. The audience were so responsive — they loved it, even if the little ones couldn’t get all the jokes. Running through a check-list: cleaners, check; no, Polish. And the decapitated coffee: you know, with no head on it.

Off to the ball

There was something for everyone, and for those who like a bit of charm, tiny white ponies came on stage to take Kellie Shirley’s Cinderella to the ball. If you like panache and loud colours, the costumes for Graham Hoadly and Paul Burnham as amusingly outrageous step-sisters Beatrice and Eugenie were magnificent — no expense spared.

Cinders, Dandini and the shoe

Robert Aldous was excellent as a genial Baron Hardup, and well-known stand-up comic Jenny Eclair was a dramatically glamorous Fairy Godmother. But it was Gary Wilmot as Buttons who really won my heart. He was warm, fun, great with the kids who came on stage, and his comic timing was perfect.

This is a super Cinderella for the family, and performances continue until January 15 — for details click here.

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