Cinderella donned her best dress, ordered her pumpkin 'uber' and made her way to Durham at the weekend, with a much-anticipated performance of Cinderella at the Gala Theatre.

We headed along to 'No-Place Hall' where we met the clever and hardworking 'Ella' who is desperately trying to find the love of her life and leave behind her stepmother and stepsisters.

The Northern Echo: Cinderella at Gala Theatre, Durham

Within the excited crowd, there was an array of beautiful blue dresses and tiaras with the occasional magic wand, many children grasped large funnels of bright blue and red slushies and buckets of popcorn too, all were available from the sweet treats stand in the foyer.

There was also a complementary cheesy puzzle and colouring page for children before the doors opened to allow guests to be seated by the helpful staff.

The production opened with a noughties mash-up of She’s So Lovely by Scouting for Girls while the crowd were familiarised with Cinderella or as she prefers Ella’s close friend Buttons played by Burnopfield’s own Jude Nelson.

The Northern Echo: Cinderella at Gala Theatre, Durham

The beautiful sets transported the audience to the land of no place, which is actually situated in the heart of Durham according to wicked stepmother Lady Longbottom played by Kris Manuel.

The performance had the perfect balance of the classic pantomime with many oh yes, he did and oh no he didn’t with updated anecdotes punching fun at modern times, there was even a stepsister Monophobia, an online influencer.

The usual gruesome twosome Ella’s stepsisters are funnier than ever in this production with Gala favourite Sarah Boulter playing Monophobia and actor Rosie Stancliffe who made an impressive pantomime debut as Philophobia.

Charlotte Bradley also made her pantomime debut as lead Cinderella and her performance was magical. Prince Ambrose played by Lewis Kennedy stole the show with slap-stick humour, silly dance moves and the essential prince charm. 

The anticipated dress change from Ella’s usual rags was spectacular and the outrageously funny Fairy Godmother impressed in multiple sparkly get-ups.

Throughout the show, there were some fantastically choreographed dance routines showing a mixture of modern interpretations like voguing alongside classical styles, which made for an interesting watch. The dance ensemble was truly captivating.

The Northern Echo: Cinderella at Gala Theatre, Durham

The energetic mash-ups of well-known songs such as Taio Cruz’s Dynamite and Here Come the Girls and the Friend’s theme tune, I’ll Be There for You and Counting Crows Accidentally in Love. The cast lovingly interacted with musical director Joshua Tarrier's pet named “Uncle Josh” which brought the attention to the all-important live band, that delivered a flawless soundtrack. 

Pipsqueak the Mouse had the crowd chuckling along to some cheesy jokes and puns and Buttons even took a seat on stage and had a chat with the audience and cracked out some silly but impressive magic tricks.

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The fairy godmother impressed on a floating moon and by casting spells which saw some members of the audience raising their wands in the air in unison.

A special shout out to the masses of enthusiastic dads at the performance. In a dance-off involving the dance ensemble, Buttons, Prince Ambrose and trusted servant Dandini, the crowd was up off their feet dancing to the macarena and the time warp.

The final group performance was a fantastic mash-up of Shut Up and Dance and Raise a Glass which even incorporated many other songs from the evening.       

The Northern Echo: Cinderella at Gala Theatre, Durham

After a few heart-warming shoutouts, there was a sing-a-long competition where the gala was split in half to sing the best rendition of jingle bells, which saw a few special changes to the traditional lyrics.

The evening it was closed with the firing of a blue confetti cannon.

Cinderella is showing at The Gala Theatre until Saturday 6th January