Cinderella at Newcastle Theatre Royal: Sublime pantomime is the one thing you must do this Christmas

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Cinderella at the Newcastle Theatre Royal reaches new heights for 2022 and is a surefire Christmas winner for all the family.

If there's one thing you do this Christmas, you need to go see the pantomime at the Newcastle Theatre Royal.

I'm no pantomime connoisseur, so it was with a little trepidation that I walked over the High Level Bridge towards the theatre on Thursday evening to watch Cinderella, the furry bobble of my new Santa Christmas jumper blowing in the wind in its debut outing.

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With December finally arriving on Tyneside, I was excited to lean into the festive spirit with the panto, but a little worried the slapstick hysteria that accompanies such shows may result in more cringes than giggles.

I couldn't have been more wrong. This year's Cinderella at the Theatre Royal is a sublime success, a rip-roaring two hours of belly laughs for all the family.

Danny Adams once again takes centre stage as the haphazard Buttons and is the livewire through the night, making his endless bag of gimmicks and improv look second nature. He is, as always, accompanied by Mick Potts whose Dandini role ticks all the boxes, if a little understated.

Fast-forward to the end of the show, and Adams takes a moment to thank attendees, cast and crew for kicking off panto season so well - this run at the Newcastle Theatre Royal has sold a higher percentage of tickets than any other pantomime in the country. The comedian also singles out Joe McElderry speaks out on 2009 Christmas chart battle">Joe McElderry for his Faerie Godfather, praising the former X Factor winner for taking the annual event to "the next level".

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Adams isn't wrong either. McElderry is the star atop the pantomime tree. That famous voice is at its best on a brief cover of 'You Sexy Thing' by Hot Chocolate, but the South Shields star brings so much more than just those vocals. McElderry looks in his element on stage and, while Adams wittily jokes he's just here for the paycheck, the singer genuinely looks to be loving every minute. He’s an endearing addition.

Joe McElderry steals the show at the Theatre RoyalJoe McElderry steals the show at the Theatre Royal
Joe McElderry steals the show at the Theatre Royal | PR

An extra touch comes by gearing various moments in Cinderella to the local region. Quips about Shields and Benwell come alongside a number whose lyrics are all dedicated to what makes Tyneside great and help make the pantomime something special that feels like it belongs to the North East.

There are too many gags to mention, and we wouldn't want to spoil anything, but from boxing to flowers and the timeless 12 Days of Christmas number, there's something for all the family - there’s even a dance crew getting down to Justin Timberlake and a Bridgeton-esque ball to an Ava Max hit.

I love the Christmas Market, I love the Fenwick Christmas Window and I love Winter Wonderland. But, so far this year, Cinderella at the Theatre Royal is the event you need to do. Tickets here.

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