Our Llew’s a Panto Star!

Birmingham Press Club chairman Llewela Bailey is a panto star. Oh! yes, she is. Here’s what the Birmingham Mail’s Les Robinson thought about the show when he caught up with Llewela in the Tamworth Pantomime Company’s performance of Cinderella

“The show had all the traditional characters and all the old phrases you’d expect to find in a panto

“I’m not usually a fan of pantomimes. But as a doting father and dutiful grandfather – I’ve seen a fair few in my time.

I don’t like listening to all those tired old recycled jokes and I’m definitely not a fan of being surrounded by screaming kids and covered in soft drinks and popcorn.

“But this week, in Tamworth Castle Grounds, all that changed – when I took my eight-year-old grandson to see Tamworth Pantomime Company perform Cinderella. And it was hilarious!

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The cast of Tamworth Pantomime Company's Cinderella.

“I think most people know the story of Cinderella, but what a pity most people haven’t seen this version.

“A pantomime designed to entertain all ages, from children right the way up to adults, the show had all the traditional characters, all the old phrases you’d expect to find in a panto and a superbly-delivered balance of adult humour.

Let’s start with my favourites. The Ugly sisters were brilliant, for me they stole the show.

“Their infectious brand of humour carries you along with them whether you wanted to go on that trip or not… and their jokes are genuinely funny. I found myself barely wanting to give them the traditional boos I liked them that much.

By the way, has anyone told Eliot (Prince Charming) that he has a fantastic singing voice? If not, read it here – he has.

He also has great comedy timing and I loved his: ‘You’re not supposed to boo Prince Charming’ retort!

“Buttons pulled it all together well, laying down the classic panto rules right from the start: “Hiss the baddies, cheer the goodies.’’

“The Ugly Sisters may have made me laugh but he was the one who got me in the right frame of mind to enjoy it.

“Llewela Bailey as Queen Atherstonia – how cool is that? A woman who commands a stage as good as she does the microphone; just perfect.

Llewela Bailey Bailey (pictured here) stars as Queen Atherstonia in Tamworth Pantomime Company's Cinderella.

“Cinderella, beautiful, talented and the perfect girl in the perfect role. So very, very well done.

As for Baroness Hardup. What can I say? Genius, yes that will do. This woman sure knows how to stir up a crowd, she was domineering, cutting, rude and dismissive. I almost felt I was married to her.

“And from ‘Bit-Part’ the Fairy Godmother, right on through to the dancers and the special effects, the whole thing just flowed and before you knew it you were applauding away a brilliant evening.

“I’ve been lucky in life. I’ve had the good fortune to see shows both on Broadway and in the West End, but sitting there with my eight-year-old grandson that Wednesday night (December 20), I realised that Tamworth Panto Company had given me something I never thought I’d feel again – they gave me back the magic of Christmas.”