There is something very traditional about taking in a pantomime at Christmas time. For me having seen a panto means I can now officially begin the festive preparations.

Don't be fooled though, pantomime does not have its origins in the UK even though you would be hard pressed to find a theatre anywhere in the land not staging one at this time of year.

There are literally hundreds of shows starting their runs over the Christmas period, performing everything from Dick Whittington to Babes in the Wood, and Aladdin to Sleeping Beauty.

The Ugly Sisters in Cinderella at Nottingham Playhouse

Pantomime may have its roots in distinctly sunnier climes, originating from Italian street theatre, but there is no doubting we Brits know how to do slapstick, laugh-until-your-stomach-aches, comedy at its best.

That is certainly true of this year's offering of Cinderella at Nottingham Playhouse, which has been written and directed by pantomime veteran Kenneth Alan Taylor, who celebrated his 80th birthday in April.

Cinderella at Nottingham Playhouse

Tim Frater as Buttons was quick to get the crowd shouting and clapping as he got people to scream any time anyone on stage went near his treasured apple. Of course, at the panto it's obligatory to make as much noise as possible so it's the perfect place to take children.

Prince Charming in Cinderella at Nottingham Playhouse

Soon to steal the show though, were the Ugly Sisters - Bella (John Elkington) and Donna (Darren Southworth) and their evil aunt the Dowager Duchess Devilla (Rebecca Little). Pantomime dames always come with an outrageous wardrobe and Bella and Donna were no exception.

Their work-out outfits were hilarious, complete with light-up trainers. Devilla's entrance on stage on a leopard-print scooter took some beating though.

There was plenty of well-known toe-tapping, sing-along music too with tracks including ones from Queen and Scouting for Girls.

There were also oodles of gags, 'behind you' moments, a fairy godmother and an impressive carriage to take Cinderella to the ball.

Buttons and Cinderella in Cinderella at Nottingham Playhouse

James Nicholson as Prince Charming and Kelly Agredo as Cinderella were impressive too. The prince certainly knew out to belt out a tune.

Going to the panto is like drinking hot chocolate on a cold night - it warms you right through and makes you smile and this year's Nottingham Playhouse offering does just that.

Tickets are priced from £23 with family tickets starting at £100 for a maximum of four people per household, with a minimum of two adults. Groups of 10 or more can save up to 20 per cent on selected performance dates.

For more information, or to book your tickets visit or call 115 941 9419

Cinderella will perform until Saturday, January 20 with a relaxed performance at 10.15am on Wednesday, January 17, and a dementia-friendly performance at 2.30pm on Thursday, January 18.