During the festive season, it is a tradition amongst many families to go and watch a pantomime at the theatre. This was certainly the case during my own childhood, visiting the theatre year after year during to watch the Christmas pantomime. As a result of a competition run by the ‘Young Reporter Scheme’, I had the privilege of attending a live performance of ‘Cinderella’ at Dartford’s Orchard Theatre. This was unlike any previous pantomime experience I have encountered, as I was now being enticed by the humour intended for adults amongst the audience.

The show began at 7pm on Monday 12th December, with the tagline of this year’s performance being “Cinderella: The Fairy Godmother of all pantomimes!”. Cinderella was played by the fantastic Jayne Wisener; famed for her roles in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber and Jane Eyre. She was accompanied on stage by an incredibly talented group of children, trained at local dance school “Studio 74” in Bromley.

The arrival of wicked stepmother “Baroness Demonica” received an unusually pleasant reaction from the audience, as she was played by actress Michelle Collins; best known for her roles in both EastEnders and Coronation Street.

A highlight of mine from the performance was the abundance of cultural references scattered throughout the production. This included the use of a Segway to transport “Buttons” onto the stage and a selection of current chart-topping hits to accompany the narrative.

I was pleasantly surprised by the adult-friendly content in the performance; which kept the parents amongst the audience just as entertained as the children!

Ruby Rowland - Coopers School