BH Live’s Cinderella: Panto Launch, Bournemouth

It’s midday in Bournemouth at Hot Rocks, a surf themed restaurant just a few feet away from the Beach. X Factor’s Rhydian is on his knees on the balcony posing for publicity photos with Dani Harmer, one of the biggest stars of children’s television, in a gold and bright green shoulder-padded jacket one would only realistically wear in a pantomime. As it happens, I am at the launch for BH Live’s Cinderella at Bournemouth Pavilion. Rhydian is Prince Charming to Harmer’s Cinders.

Cast and crew, press, various important people and myself gathered to launch the best-loved pantomime of them all. Cinderella, with its magical story, laugh out loud moments and magical special effects it is perfect entertainment for the festive season.


Cinderella. Click on the link to book your tickets

I sat down with the cast and had a chat over some pizza, vegetable burritos and cocktails. I start by asking Prince Charming (Rhydian) what qualities his character requires, he says: “Charm.” I ask what it’s like being in a pantomime, he explains, “UK productions are one of the best panto production companies in the land and I’m honoured to be involved,” he nods. “It will be momentous.” Amazing.

For many people, a pantomime or Christmas show is their first experience of theatre. So it makes sense that Dani Harmer, having played the lead role of CBBC’s The Story of Tracy Beaker and firm favourite with young audiences play Cinderella. “I’ve always loved the story of Cinderella and I’ve been in shows in Bournemouth loads of times. I’m sure people round here are bored of me… But I really enjoy it!”

I ask Dani what audiences can expect, she tells me, “Well, we have real life ponies on stage, which is just lovely. There are very good songs, a great cast a beautiful story and some actual pony poo… They get nervous too.” She adds. “Above all, its really great fun for all ages. Come and watch!”


Following last years record-breaking pantomime, Snow White at Bournemouth Pavilion, Cinderella is a smart choice; offering no main dame but two ugly sisters, played by David Ball and Michael Chance. They don’t so much turn heads in their costumes, as stomachs. Ball channels Cruella De Ville/Lily Savage while Chance is working the Elphaba (Wicked) and Bette Lynch (Coronation St) chic. Ball explains, “We were born two minutes apart… And my sister was dropped on her head,” he smiles. “We can’t wait to share our wardrobe with the people of Dorset!”

I wonder how long it will take for them to prepare to look this fabulous whilst enduring a punishing performance schedule, “One hour today. But once you do it more often you can get changed in fifteen minutes,” he adds. “It’s tough – two shows a day, we’ve got ten costume changes in every show and it gets very hot! There are lots of things to think about and the story is very fast paced. It’s so much fun.”

Cinderella promises to be not just a terrific  Christmas show, but a terrific night for all times and all ages. The cast sparkle so brightly that everyone should go to the ball, so well done everyone involved.