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Audience have ball with Belfast take on timeless tale

Cinderella. Grand Opera House, Belfast

By Claire Williamson

It's a tale as old as time - but where else would you see May McFettridge soaring across the stage on a flying Moon?

It's panto time, and the glitter, sequins and magic are in no short supply at the Grand Opera House.

Cinderella sparkles and charms as it captivates and leaves young and old in awe with its classic story.

The opening song is all about Belfast, and the all-singing, all-dancing number states "Here in Belfast it's the best" - and judging by the audience's reaction, they agreed.

Panto veteran McFettridge is in top form with her dazzling array of costumes.

No one is safe from her razor wit and humour - particularly any audience member arriving late!

There are also plenty of jokes at the expense of Prince Charming, played by West End star and Pop Idol runner-up Gareth Gates.

He is berated throughout the show, with numerous references to the winner of the talent show in 2002 Will Young. He effortlessly sings through his crowd-pleasing numbers including Uptown Funk, which has the audience clapping and singing along,

The ugly step-sisters are an absolute treat, and each time they appeared, with their outrageous styling, they received gasps or laughter before they had even uttered a word.

Coleraine actress Jayne Wisener plays the title role sweetly, and her relationship with Buttons is truly heart-warming.

Aside from the main story, it's a riotous ride with plenty of laughs and audience participation - which even sees McFettridge channel her inner rapper, paying homage to infamous X Factor star Honey G.

But be sure to look up when Cinderella leaves to go to the ball - because it's the most magical moment of all.

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