It used to be a tradition in panto to have the leading male character played by a young woman, usually Anita Harris. So Anita was Jack of Jack and the Beanstalk, Dick of Dick Whittington, and The Prince in countless other shows.
These pantos were love stories and the boy (girl) always got the girl (girl) in the end. More recently the lead male has been played by Darren Day, famous for being blond and crap and for treating his celebrity girlfriends like shit. But he's popular amongst a large section of British women and of course he was on I'm a Celebrity Get Me Outtahere.
I'm disappointed to see that in this version of Cinderella the lovers aren't played by Violet and Frankie. Just a pure, sweet, innocent kiss between them would've made my Christmas.
Or alternatively, Hayley as the Prince. A woman who plays a woman who used to be a man playing a woman playing a man might be too much though for viewers pumped up with Cava and turkey additives.
No, instead we've got Frankie as Cinders (a bit old for the part but she wears the costume well), and Danny as the Prince. You couldn't get much further from a young fresh-faced girl/boy than Danny Baldwin, a grizzled middle-aged bloodshot borderline alcoholic. More of a real prince than a fantasy one, then.
I've never watched Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes but Corrie actors always seem to be on it (Shelley as Dolly Parton, Les as Dean Martin, Janice as Bjork). So this is my first chance to see the guys and gals outside of their comfort zone.
This panto looks like it took about five minutes to write. That doesn't matter as it's really mainly a showcase for the multifarious talents of Corrie's stars. Bradley Walsh is not just a mediocre footballer, comedian and actor. He's a piss poor singer and dancer, too.
So what happens? Well, a pissed Frankie bangs her head on the floor of the Rovers and has this dream, you see.
Frankie must've had something slipped into her wine because her dream is very very strange. Her Street mates play all different types of characters from lots of different pantomimes. But the basic story is the old Cinderella one.
There are a few scenes where we see what could have been done if the writer's rather than the actors' ego had been satisfied. There is a little bit of Dickens where Chesney as Tiny Tim is lying in his sick bed. Looking through the window at him are Dev-Eneezer Scrooge and a cranially damaged Tommy Harris as the Ghost of Christmas Past. And then there's Ugly Sister Norris's boast that he is wearing a new perfume: "Kabin Fever from the Rita Sullivan Range".
But, no. We get a string of show songs sung by amateurs seemingly chosen to please Granny who is sitting in the corner of the living room farting and snoring her way through Boxing Afternoon.
So, Ladiees and Gennlemen. I give you the songs:-
1. It Ain't What You Do It's The Way That You Do It (Shelley, Sean and Fizz)
Trouble is, that ain't the way to do it. Little Chesney gets to do the line "and then your tribe will swing" in a deep grown-up voice. Hilarious.
2. The Stripper (Roy and Norris)
An instrumental featuring a strip by the two Ugly Sisters. Probably the best performance as there's no amateurish warbling.
3. Good For Nuthin' Liar? Double Crossing Liar? (Jack and Sarah-Lou)
I don't know this song but it features Jack and Sarah as a raunchy married couple which is enough for me to sick up my cashew nuts. Bill Tarmey is the only professional singer on show. It doesn't show.
4. We're A Couple Of Swells (Kirk and Les)
This utterly shite performance thankfully doesn't erase the sublime Judy Garland/Fred Astaire classic one from my memory.
5. All I Want For Christmas Is You (Frankie)
This instantly forgetable performance unfortunately doesn't erase Mariah Carey's purely evil one from my memory.
6. There's No Business Like Show Business (Fred, Cilla and Bev)
Like watching sumo wrestlers attempting ballet.
7. Moondance (Danny Baldwin)
Danny begins to take over with this reading of the Van Morrison "classic", full of sweaty bollocky Cockney Soul.
8. The Way You Look Tonight (Frankie and Danny)
Frankie too thin, according to my mum. Danny old and haggard, according to me.
9. The Sunny Side Of The Street (The Whole Ensemble)
Fred puffing like a buffalo, Warren Baldwin miming because he doesn't know the words, Blanche not keeping up, hobbling along with the aid of her walking stick. An extravaganza. There's even time for a short Bhangra section by Dev to get Granny's blood boiling so that she's awake for the real thing: Boxing Day Corrie.
10. The Party's Over (Danny)
As they are left alone, Danny sings to Frankie. A real tearjerker as he leaves her alone to wake from her dream and walk back into the Rovers to throw up in the Ladies and drink another bottle of wine.
Can't wait for next year.
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