So I’m gonna be honest, this year we have a little bit of a problem. I’ve been reviewing at the Mercury Theatre for four years (I think) now and during those years, I have gone and reviewed their Christmas Pantomime each year. So here is the dilemma…I’m running out of good things to say! Mercury Theatre, next year you will have to make the show not very good on purpose, so then it will be easier!
Anyway, onto this years’ Pantomime of ‘Cinderella’! I think we all know the story of ‘Cinderella’ but just for some reason you don’t, I’ll give you a shorter version. So a little grows up with her father, who has to remarry, so he marries Ella’s Step-Mother, not long after the wedding he tragically dies and then from that time on she turns Ella into a slave and makes her do all the chores of the house. Along the way, there are two ugly Step-Sisters, Ella’s good friend Buttons, a Fairy Godmother and of course a handsome Prince. Oh and in this version, a duck!
Photography By Pamela Raith
From the get-go, as usual, it was all set up to be once again one of the highlight shows of the year. I arrived at the Abbey Field, which is currently The Mercury Theatre’s home away from home whilst the remodeling project at their main theatre is being carried out. Once I arrived I was greeted by a lovely staff member how showed me to the information desk. Once the theatre I had arrived, they took me to a place where Blossom would be comfortable. Whilst I watched the show. I then sat down whilst I waited for the doors to open. Now the Abbey Field is a massive almost circus-like tent with acres of space with plenty of seating. I was shown my seat so I sat down. After a sat down for a few minutes, I thought to myself ‘This, I think is a little too far back, and I’m going to struggle to see what’s doing on.’ Now I know The Mercury would have put me closer to the stage if they could have, so I didn’t think much of it. ‘If someone comes and checks on me, then I’ll ask if it’s possible I could move.’ I thought, but I wasn’t going to make a big deal of it. Right on cue, as though they had read my mind, a member of staff came to check on me, I ask politely if there was any possibility I could move a little closer as so then I could have a better view of what was happening. Within seconds I was moved to the front row. I always have to credit the support staff, they truly are amazing and honestly go over a beyond to help you! Outstanding service and support, thank you!
Photography By Pamela Raith
The stage before the show was surrounded by start lights and lots and lots of glitter! It just would be Panto without the glitter. The safety curtain had a royal blue background, with a white magical starry trail going across it. Once the show had started, I could already tell this was going to be fun, there was a lot of flashing lights, which at a pantomime is expected, so this is something to bear in mind if like me you are light-sensitive. You could tell from start to finish all the cast had an awesome time! For the first half an hour or so, the audience was a little quiet and dead, so there was much for the cast to bounce off of. But as the night went on the crowd warmed up and go into the show.
As always the standard of the show was excellent, the acting from all the cast was truly on point. We even had the return of Anthony Stuart-Hicks and Dale Superville as the two ugly sisters. As usual, they had the audience in the palm of their hands. These two are always first class every year, and it is always a real treat seeing your comedy talents, amazing as always well done both, it wouldn’t be The Mercury Panto without you, it really wouldn’t. There’s not much, I can say about the actual show, that I haven’t said in previous years. You could tell from beginning to end that everyone had massive fun, Anthony played with the audience in little bits throughout the show, and had the audience in stitches. But all the cast were amazing, well done to all!
To sum up then, this year’s pantomime of ‘Cinderella’ is a must-see this Christmas and New Year! It is honestly the best Pantomime in the whole of Essex! You will not be disappointed in the slightest! I am personally heading to see it again in a couple of weeks with my family, and I can’t wait to see it again!
‘Cinderella’ is running at The Mercury Theatre – Abbey Field from the 30th November until 5th January 2020! Get your tickets here now!
Overall rating for Visually Impaired:
You will have an amazing here! There is an Audio Description performance available, but if you can’t seem to get tickets for that then I honestly think you’d be fine without. Most of the jokes and gags are all pretty much said, so you won’t have a problem accessing them. However, if it is a personal preference then go for it. As I mentioned previously if you are light-sensitive then I would remember this when booking seats. I would say for the best view, I recommend seating on rows D or E and will have a good view from there. The rest of the venue is completely lit with lots of lights, and the theatre are more than happy to dog-sit your Guide Dog should you need it, but I would recommend telling them this in advance so they had plenty of notice.
I hope you all have a wonderful and peaceful Christmas, and I hope to see you all in the New Year!
Until Next Time,
The VI Critic!