I’m a sucker for a good old fashioned Grimm tale. And if it comes triple-wrapped in high camp and topped with flying fairies, then I’m hooked. And they don’t come more camp or more soaring than Cinderella at the London Palladium. Panto’s not for everyone, I know. All that ‘he’s behind you’ and ‘oh no, he isn’t’ slapstick leaves some people baffled. But only the truly sour would sniff at this lavish, no-holes-barred, gags and glitter extravaganza. I haven’t laughed so much in years. With the likes of Julian Clary and Lilly Savage in the cast, the hard core double-entendre was not for the faint hearted but there were no profanities among the lewdness – so that kept the mums and dads happy. Lilly was a tad under-powered so it was left to Julian to steal the show. Seeing him in leathers and feathers flying over the stalls on a Vespa was surreal. And the rest of the cast were pretty sparkling too. Amanda Holden can actually sing. Who knew? There’s something very winter-warming about this peculiarly British theatrical tradition. Oh no there isn’t. Oh yes there is!
Thank you to our very own fairy godmother for getting us to the ball. You’re a star.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Julian Clary. Britain has a glorious tradition of camp comedians tripping out bawdy innuendos with mincing aplomb – Larry Grayson, John Inman and Frankie Howerd to name but three – but Julian was the first to place his sexuality at the very heart of his act. Sexual ambiguity and suggestive salvos from the back of the closet are not Julian’s style. He slaps it on with a shovel, love it or hate it. The verdict from the predominately straight, middle class, middle aged audience at Norwich’s Theatre Royal was unanimous. They loved it. I’m glad to report that Blighty’s continued pre-occupation with the lewd, the rude and the crude is alive and giggling. We loved it too. Julian provided an unexpected bonus, a marriage proposal live on stage from audience member Samantha to her partner Bonny. A ‘yes’ from Bonny was rewarded with a lively ovation all round. Julian ended his glittering passage with a nod to his more thoughtful side by speak-singing “It’s not yet cool to be queer,” a moving political broadcast for those poor souls living in less tolerant parts of our rainbow world. Julian’s show does exactly what it says on the glittery tin. He may be a one-joke comic but, blimey, what a joke.
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