University Concert Hall, Limerick ****
In her first panto in 12 years, Twink (Adele King), as the funky fairy godmother, proves why she has earned her place in panto history, switching from energetic performances as Lady Gaga to a South Korean rapper. She keeps all ages enthralled as she magically ensures Cinderella (Leanne Moore) gets to the ball.
With a musical repertoire that includes Lady Gaga’s Born this Way, Robbie Williams Candy and a dance of the YouTube hit Gangnam Style, director Robert C Kelly shows how even the oldest fairtytale can’t escape modern influences.
The script is also pitched towards the younger audience, peppered with plenty of “OMGs” and “Totes amazballs”.
Ugly Sisters Nicole and Tulisa (Myles Breen and Richard Lynch) encourage spectators to Call Me Maybe with their version of Carly Rae Jepsen’s hit, while Prince Charming (George McMahon of Fair City) attempts to win hearts with Michael Bublé’s Haven’t Met You Yet.
You’re a Star winner Leanne Moore shines as Cinderella but a real vocal star of the night is Buttons (Richie Hayes).
His performance of Shannon Noll’s What About Me not only attests his unrequited love for Cinderella but also brings out the powerful voice that earned him runner-up in RTÉ’s Voice of Ireland.
There’s plenty of humour for locals, particularly when Dustin (who plays the ugly sisters’ landlord) slags off the Munster rugby team and their chances of winning the next Heineken Cup. There’s even a jibe at Fianna Fáil deputy Willie O’Dea who made his way onto the VIP guest list for Prince William’s ball.
The final scene in the first half, when Cinderella’s rags transform into a ball gown to the ET theme tune, sets the tone for a tremendous second half which includes far more audience participation.
Costumes are superb, sets impressive and while a lot of the humour is aimed at older members of the audience (Dandini reading Fifty Shades of Grey and Twink’s references to her Unzipped autobiography) there’s enough to leave the younger folk in no doubt that Cinderella will live happily ever after.
Until January 6th