Cinderella, Swansea Grand Theatre

December 13, 2023 by

For many years, there has been a winning formula to staging a successful pantomime at Swansea Grand Theatre: put record-breaking dame Kev Johns front and centre, who can elicit an avalanche of laughter simply by walking on stage, and everything else should fall into place. That is very much the case again in 2023, but we can now add a second name to that list – his returning comedy partner-in-crime Matt Edwards, who helps elevate this production from a polished stage-show to a truly magical affair.

Before the curtain even rose on Cinderella, the bar of expectation had been set pretty high following last year’s heroics at the Pantomime Association Awards. Despite being Imagine Theatre’s first production in the city, Beauty and the Beast was named the best panto in the UK for theatres with more than 900 seats, outshining some strong competition from the other side of the Severn and across the Irish Sea. As such, it was almost inevitable that the man dubbed ‘Mr Swansea’ would be reunited with the former Britain’s Got Talent contestant to resume their double act which bubbles with an on-stage chemistry fine-tuned over years of performing slapstick routines together.


Kev Johns



AJ and Curtis Pritchard


Matt Edwards

Not that it was all Kev and Matt, of course. Topping the bill were dancing brothers AJ and Curtis Pritchard who shared the heavy lifting of headlining the spectacle, with the former providing the more dazzling dance moves worthy of his Strictly pedigree – including an unexpected and highly enjoyable Morris dance. Curtis, taking on more of the acting role, drove the narrative with some comic set-pieces and the occasional pie to the face. Rounding off the leading cast were Samantha Thomas as the compassionate title character and magician Stefan Pejic as the Fairy Godparent, who reminded the audience in his first of many puff-of-smoke appearances that in 2023, the god-person need not necessarily be a mother.

The on-stage action was fast-moving, mirroring the pace set by the musicians in the orchestra pit, while the direction was aided by the ingenious addition of a ‘digital set’. An innovation new to the Swansea stage, it effectively eliminates the need to change scenery by utilising a computer-based backdrop that can seamlessly switch from a forest dance to a fairytale castle in the blink of an eye. Not only does it allow for such special effects as a flying carriage, but it considerably reduces the pauses between scenes.

A family-friendly spectacle that occasionally dips its toe into the cheekier end of pantomime humour, Cinderella is a wonderfully warm-hearted production that will surely give the judges at the Pantomime Association Awards food for thought again in 2024. And as the curtain fell on opening night, the announcement that both Kev Johns and Matt Edwards would be returning for next year’s Jack and the Beanstalk was unsurprisingly met with a roar of approval from the Swansea faithful.


Until Jan 7

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