The LouBou clan see Cinderella at Milton Keynes Theatre
Panto at Christmas? Bit of a tradition to most families isn’t it? Oh yes it is! (sorry 😂). As a kid I would go love to go see the panto. Big shows at theatres like The Derngate in Northampton and smaller performances in village halls, leisure campuses, and so on.
I said I used to visit the Derngate as a kid because MK Theatre wasn’t built until I was the ripe old age of 16. MK is home to a beautiful theatre, all shiny and fresh n modern, like most things in Milton Keynes. I wish it had been around when I was a kid but hey, at least it is now.
Whether it was a big glitzy pantomime or a smaller one put on by amateur dramatic societies, what I always remembered about pantos are, they’re FUN! Everyone was always laughing and being rowdy from beginning to end. How many theatre visits can be combined with cat-calling, muchos laughter and the infamous call backs, when a member of the cast will set a catchphrase or a movement early on that the audience answer back and get involved with?
As I became an adult and before I had any children, the tradition of panto died off quite fast and I missed the excuse of going. Now with two children firmly under my belt, Half Pint being three and Squishee being nearly one, it’s a tradition I am going to cement back into my life with pleasure.
The whole family were invited by Milton Keynes Theatre to the press night of Cinderella. When we arrived at The Piano Bar, we were welcomed by the theatre staff and given a programme for the show. Half Pint was given a light up sword and was in heaven. He along with all the other littlest kids (and some big ones 😆) had epic sword battles whilst they waiting for the show. It was very cute (and loud!) to watch.
The bar was stocked up with drinks to keep all of us happy. Wine for Mr LB and myself and juices and waters for the HP and Squishmonster.
Platters of sausage rolls and cheese and onion rolls were given to us, hot and fresh from the oven. DREAMY comfort food that was so needed, especially as the weather was so wet and cold outside. Give me all those tiny pastry blankets please!
Then it was bottoms up, scoot to the auditorium and then bottoms down as it was panto time!
We were seated on row P in the stalls (the ground floor). Our row was elevated and had a great view of the stage. We also sat on a row end which was perfect with two little kiddies, knowing we could get up at a moments notice without disturbing fellow panto-watcherers.
The show is such fun. Full of songs, jokes, cat calls, hilarious giggles and audience participation. I kept glancing over to Half Pints face to make sure he was enjoying it and his eyes were glued to the stage for every second.
Cinderella stars two big household names. Gok Wan (you must know him) and Brian Conley who looks a bit like that guy off the telly but isn’t, but is famous in his own right, especially within the theatre world (he ain’t Bradley Walsh, people!).
Brian Conley played Buttons and Gok Wan played The Fairy Gok Mother, yes you heard me right! 😂 The Fairy –Gok- Mother. Genius. Who else was going to put Cinders in a fab outfit? Of course it’s GOK!
The jokes are perfect for the whole family. From simple cheap gags that made Half Pint smirk, to some very adult jokes! Cleverly placed so that they went right over the children’s heads and gave us adults a proper belly tickle. Watch out for Brian Conley, he is HILARIOUS. The cast don’t forget where they are performing either, with lots of MK references – brilliant! 👏🏻
I have to mention the costumes too. Wow. And I don’t just mean Cinders (you know that’s a given). The ugly sisters sure had their eye-catching moments too. Ones I’m not going to forget in a hurry! 🙊
Whilst Half Pint is my eldest boy, he’s still very young at just three years old. He did struggle with the show starting just past 7pm. After a Santa visit earlier in the day, a day at pre-school and then busy evening at the theatre, his first ever theatre visit no less, was all too much for him, and he was burning out by the interval. But this was a special press performance night we were invited to. Parents of younger children do note there is a matinee performance of Cinderella (in the afternoon) which I think would work perfect for the littlest of theatre goers.
We all left for home with smiles and a well tickled funny bone. It has everything for the whole family to enjoy and laugh along to. A love story, eye-catching visuals, lots of songs (some you’ll recognise!) the ugly sisters (of course!) and some rather spectacular stage effects.
Most of all, it was really special sharing an old tradition with my babies for the first time. We are coming back next year for sure!
If you are thinking of going, Cinderella is at Milton Keynes theatre for the whole of Christmas and New Years and even for the first half of January too.