REVIEW: Cinderella at the Manchester Opera House
It's back to the original rags to riches love story for this year's festive treat at the Manchester Opera House.
Four years have passed since Cinderella last graced the stage in Manchester, and although this is the same familiar story the 2015 version has an icy twist.
Making their debut appearance in pantomime are legendary Olympians Torvill and Dean, who in this year's production play the part of the magical Fairy Godparents.
Gliding across the stage, Torvill and Dean introduced themselves to audiences old and new from the very first scene, with beautifully choreographed sequences which they execute expertly even though they are on roller-blades rather than skates.
Along with the ice skating stars of the show are Eloise Davies as Cinders, Liam Doyle playing the part of Prince Charming, Andrew Vincent leading the comedy and audience participation as Buttons, Anthony Houghton as Baron Hardup and last but very much not least Samuel Holmes as Dandini.
Manchester's shows are always incredibly produced, with slick lighting, set and costume changes and special effects which sweep the audience through the performance seamlessly, and this year's show is no different.
The whole cast impressed with flawless vocal performances, with particular mention going to Samuel Holmes as Dandini who blew the crowd away on more than one occasion.
'Button's chocolate shop' and the 'who, what, and I don't know' sequences provided the two most memorable comedy moments of the night, and a change in format weaving the end of show audience participation throughout rather than awkwardly finishing on it, tightened the whole performance.
However the notable loss of Tam Ryan who for me has been the glue that holds these performances together in recent years, did leave the show feeling flat in parts.
Manchester's panto is widely regarded as the best in the region, and even with the loss of Tam Ryan this is still a fantastically polished production that will have your kids screaming at the stage from start to finish.
And for the parents out there who remember that Olympic moment in 1984, you may also be in for a treat.