REVIEW: Cinderella at Sheffield Lyceum

Festive spirit: Damian Williams plays a risque Buttons in Cinderella.
Festive spirit: Damian Williams plays a risque Buttons in Cinderella.

THERE is just one man who gets Sheffielders of all ages screaming in delight when Christmas comes, writes Nancy Fielder.

And we’re not talking about the bearded man in the red suit.

Forget Santa, it is Damian Williams who gets everyone in the festive spirit.

It is the fifth year Damian has stolen the spotlight at the Lyceum’s panto and, even without wearing a dress, he is better than ever.

The audience is right behind him from the moment he steps on stage till the time he finally tells them all to get lost and home.

In fact he even manages to get them cheering for a wooden bench, which only makes sense if you are a regular.

This year’s spectacular production is Cinderella with a very generous helping of Sheffield wit, humour and stupidity.

The entire cast fits together brilliantly whether it is singing perfect harmonies, impressive dancing or side-splittingly daft comedy.

Kate Quinnell stands out as Cinderella, playing the perfect partner to Damian’s rather risque Buttons.

The ugly sisters – Lyceema and Crucibella – prompt just the right amount of booing and hissing as they make their way through an unbelievably glitzy wardrobe.

It takes a brave man to sit too close to the front with this raucous pair on the loose.

Nobody escapes the daunting finger of comedy whether it is the Royal family or Sheffield royalty Jess Ennis – let’s hope she still has a very good sense of humour.

Half the fun is groaning at the terrible jokes but joining in with all the cheering, screaming and dancing puts everyone in a good mood.

The interval arrives just after awesome special effects and a magical princess transformation which left the whole place talking.

Evolution Productions always puts on a great festive show with a sprinkling of celebrities – this year including CBeebies Ben Faulks, G4’s Jonathan Ansell and Dinnerladies Sue Devaney.

The show, including interval, is almost three hours long but nobody wanted it to end.

Small kids loved the simple daftness and teenagers liked the popular culture jokes but there was also plenty make the adults laugh.

It isn’t Christmas until you’ve seen the Lyceum panto - oh no it isn’t.