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Lewd and offensive? Oh no it's not! Producer defends sold-out Cinderella panto after parent complains

By Laura Abernethy

Published 02/01/2016

Jolene O’Hara (Cinderella) and Darren Franklin (the prince) launch the Waterfront’s panto
Jolene O’Hara (Cinderella) and Darren Franklin (the prince) launch the Waterfront’s panto

The producer of a Belfast pantomime has defended his sell-out show following a complaint from a parent about "lewd" content.

A man who went to see a performance of Cinderella at the Waterfront Hall criticised it as offensive, rude, vulgar and full of sexual references.

Another member of the audience complained about the amount of swearing and said her father walked out after just 15 minutes.

But the show's producer, Joe Rea, said the scenes that caused offence had been misinterpreted and apologised for any offence caused.

The father who complained said he wanted to draw attention to the content of the pantomime because he found it "offensive and uncomfortable".

"There may be people who are due to attend this pantomime who would share my feelings about it," he added.

"[There are] a number of rude and vulgar moments. I will also mention that the pantomime contains name-calling, toilet humour' and the hero, as well as the villains, hitting characters."

Paula Fisher posted took to the Waterfront's Facebook page to complain about the swearing in the show.

"I went with my entire family, aged from three to 75, and was appalled," she wrote. "It was diabolical. My eight-year-old nephew said thank goodness it was over at the break. The 11-year-old asked why they were swearing. My father walked out after 15 minutes. My family from Australia and Sweden couldn't understand a word of it."

Mr Rea said some of the scenes had been misinterpreted and told how just one person had complained directly to the makers about the content.

"More than 17,000 people have been to see the show and to date we've only received one complaint," he added. "Cinderella at the Waterfront is a traditional pantomime. It's done in humour and we're very proud of it.

"If there was any offence caused, we apologise for that. We absolutely meant no offence."

Cinderella has been showing at the venue since November 28. It will finish its run tomorrow as the festive season comes to an end.

The classic fairytale stars Ross Anderson-Doherty as the pantomime dame, Jolene O'Hara as Cinderella, Kerri Quinn and Rachel Murray as the ugly sisters, Keith Singleton as buttons and Darren Franklin as the prince.

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