***Exclusive to Norwich Eye – Win a family ticket to see Cinderella – See below***


It’s that time of year again. Queues for the car parks. Shops rammed with people moving in random patterns. Cold. Wet. Dark.

We need something to cheer us up. And along comes that annual favourite, the Norwich Theatre Royal Pantomime. This year the story is Cinderella, and once again the show is written and directed by the multi-talented Richard Gauntlett, who will of course also pop on a frock or three as the dame. I caught up with Richard during rehearsals. He says that Cinderella is his favourite, and he has played Buttons six times in his long panto career, but this time he will be the Fairy Godmother. Richard says this will be a big show, but at heart it is a love story with a lot of magic. Having peeked in at a dress rehearsal I am sure that he has waved his magic wand over this distinctive and capable cast to give us a memorable Cinderella with a Norwich flavour. Richard has had a busy year between panto productions with regular outings in Gilbert and Sullivan operas and his own touring show as well as writing for children’s TV shows.

Amanda Henderson will swap taking pulses for panto when she plays one of the Ugly Sisters while former Walford and West End star David Witts will take on the role of Prince Charming. This is David’s third casting as a Prince this year so you can be sure he looks the part! He told me that the Theatre Royal really care about what they do, so you know it will be a good panto. Amanda is best known for her role in Casualty as caring nurse Robyn Miller, the beating heart of the ward. David is best known for playing the role of Joey Branning in EastEnders.

Alix Dunmore will join Amanda Henderson as the pair team up as the Ugly Sisters Siri and Alexa. Alix has a strong performing pedigree having appeared in the likes of Casualty, Doctors, Call The Midwife, and stage productions including A Christmas Carol, The 39 Steps, and Stepping Out. Their quick fire dialogue as they plot to thwart their sister’s happiness is guaranteed to get the audience going!

The title role of Cinderella will be played by Kara-Lianne Jones, who is a graduate of the Italia Conti Arts Centre. While training, she appeared in shows such as Our House, Sweet Charity, Dear Diary and Pollution, and she was part of the 2017 Comic Relief show. She is following her brother Justin-Lee into the Norwich panto as he was part of the ensemble for the 2018-19 production Aladdin.

Joe Tracini, the son of Joe Pasquale, will play Buttons in the festive family production which runs from December 17 to January 19. He has a host of previous credits including Hollyoaks, several CBBC programmes, and Spamalot. Joe is a comedy natural and king of the quick response.

A cheeky rehearsal wink from David Gant as he embraces Cinderella (Kara-Lianne Jones) while Richard Gauntlett and Joe Tracini are trying to hide… Photo © Julian Swainson 2019

Perhaps the most intriguing cast appointment is the dignified and very distinctive David Gant as Baron Hardup, father to Cinderella and step-father to the Ugly Sisters. David brings the gravitas of a classical Shakespearean performer to the panto role, comparing his role to King Lear with daughters of mixed quality. David worked with Richard Gauntlett in ‘Oh What a Lovely War’ and is a great admirer of his work. David is a joy to talk to and has a wealth of theatre tales to tell and brings a gravitas to his character which gives a nice counterpoint to the mayhem and comedy from the other principals in this lively show. Although he loves Shakespeare David admits to being a fan of both Coronation Street and Neighbours.

The show has a brand new set with some dazzling special effects that help the downtrodden Cinderella on her path to true love with her Prince. A live band helps to keep the music fresh and the cast on their toes with lots of familiar tunes to sing along to.

This show is booking fast, you may struggle to get a ticket before Christmas, so don’t hesitate, book today!


© Julian Swainson 2019

Cinderella, Tuesday 17 December 2019-Sunday 19 January 2020. Tickets £10-£25. Discounts for Over-60s, Under-18s, Groups and Schools.
To book, log onto or call the box office on 01603 630000.


***Win a family ticket to Cinderella!***

In conjunction with Norwich Theatre Royal we are giving away a family ticket (four seats) for Friday Jan 17 at 7pm. Just email with the heading ‘Cinderella Ticket Winner’ and include your name, address and contact phone number. One lucky family will be drawn at random and you will go the ball!

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