Written by Luca Giannini – 11 years
Oh wow! My jaw literally dropped to the floor when I walked into the theatre auditorium this Christmas to see Cinderella – The Panto, at the newly restored Fairfield Halls, in Croydon. Gone was the traditional sumptuous velvet curtain, that normally envelopes any stage; gone were the spotlights; gone were the orchestra in the pit. Majestically standing in their place stood MAGIC! The stage stood proudly in front of the audience like an illuminated sparkling crown, because this was the UK’s first ever fully digital panto.
As moving towards a glittering new decade, the beautifully restored Fairfield Halls decided to step into the future by staging an entirely illuminated pantomime. Created by an impressive LED wall, the magic of Cinderella was sparked to life by hundreds of computer screens, each working like individual light-up pixels, telling the story of one of our nation’s favourite fairy-tales. Surely this has to be the BEST panto in the UK this year?
The cast was like a Christmas chocolate selection box too; something for everyone including Cbeebies, Cat Sandion as the Fairy Godmother, Strictly Come Dancing’s, Ore Oduba as Dandini and the oh-so hilarious comedian, Tim Vine as Buttons. Written by Tim Vine, the script was jam-packed with joke after side-splitting joke, woven around almost every panto prank and stunt seen across decades of panto. It was all here on the glittering LED stage at the Fairfield.
Then it happened, a beaming channel of light came darting towards me and a friendly usherette invited me to step-up onto the stage. It was amazing. She said my new Christmas jumper was fantastic and something which was ‘stage worthy’, so she’d spotted me across the theatre and invited me up onto the magic platform to meet Buttons. I have been a bit shy, yet suddenly I waited to rush up there. Buttons joked with us, yet us kids made sure we joked back, so we found the audience were soon on their feet, clapping and laughing at everything we said (I loved this feeling!)
Only a few of us were invited on stage, yet I’m sure everyone who enjoyed this year’s Cinderella felt part of the show. There were the dads who had to keep blowing kisses to the ugly sisters every-time they walked onto the stage, the 12-Days of Christmas song which Buttons made us all part of and the water pistols, which I am sure Buttons used to hit almost every member of the audience. It was fantastic!
The show runs until 5 January, so get down to The Fairfield Halls! Be part of the first ever fully digital panto which the UK has ever seen.
For more info:
Facebook – @fairfieldcroydon
Twitter – @fairfieldhalls
Instagram – @croydonfairfield