The most iconic of all panto titles lives on at Ayr’s Gaiety theatre this year, as this Cinderella delivers a rags-to-riches adventure that offers something for all the family.

In another spectacle full of panto magic, all brought together by the in-house team at the Gaiety, audiences are in for a real treat this festive season.

Running considerably over the advertised 120 minutes, audiences definitely get bang for their buck – though some routines feel slightly laboured. Less is often more – but this packed panto gives its audience everything, everywhere all at once!

The in-house production at Ayr of recent years has firmly rooted itself in its locale, ensuring a lorryload of local references that ensure you know where you are. It seems simple, but Fraser Boyle and Ken Alexander’s script does it so well. Every jibe is done with love – so nobody can be offended! 

This fantastic cast might be small in number but it fizzes with talent.

As the titular Cinderella, Bethany Tennick is a brash, bold role model for any wannabe princess. With a killer voice and real attitude, Tennick is a sparkling antidote to the idea that pantomime is an outdated form.

Gavin Jon Wright’s Buttons brings pathos by the bucketload. He’s a clear link between the traditions of pantomime and the modern, blending chaotic hilarity with real emotion beyond the superficial caricature.

Every panto needs a baddie – and for some unknown reason, this one hails from somewhere between Russia and Germany. Nonetheless, Melanie Bell makes sure this geographical abnormality doesn’t prevent the boo’s flowing as evil step-mother Lady Loco Chanel McClatchy.

Merging the dark side with sheer laughs, Fraser Boyle and Ali Cleland are the perfect pair of Ugly Sisters. Leaning more into the idea that they’re products of their evil mother makes their inevitable redemption more believable in a refreshing update to the traditional tale.

There’s definitely magic in the air in Ayr this Christmas, as Hannah Howie’s Fairy Godmother brings real polish to this pantomime – and deserves a star all of her own with a voice that charms the cherubs dotted around the auditorium and cheeky mischief that underlies this magical being.

Director Ken Alexander ensures that you don’t need all the bells and whistles of the big-budget city productions to create a panto that is pure heart and full of festive spirit.

With a solid story set clearly in its Ayrshire surrounds, a brilliant cast and a production that elevates it to magical heights, Ayr’s panto offering is another winner this festive season!

Cinderella at Ayr Gaiety until 7th January 2024