Panto can be predictable but there are some unexpected highlights in the gloriously excessive production of Cinderella currently running at Milton Keynes Theatre.

Pitched as “The Fairy Godmother of all Pantomimes” this extravaganza certainly conjures up enough seasonal silliness and sparkly spectacle to entertain theatregoers of all ages.

The rags to riches tale of downtrodden Cinders and her life-changing visit to Prince Charming’s Royal Ball is being brought to the stage with no expense spared this time around. The big budget is unmistakably evident in the amazing assortment of sets, props, costumes, special effects and cameo appearances on display amidst the conventional chaos of panto.


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Dancer James Leece plays the title role in the stage show version of classic Christmas cartoon The Snowman.

Between performances and festive family fun, he found time for a chat about choreography, costumes and childhood nostalgia with Georgina Butler.


James Leece was born in Aberdeen and trained at The Royal Ballet School and London Studio Centre. He began his professional performing career dancing for Matthew Bourne’s company in the early days when it was called Adventures in Motion Pictures and continued when it became Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures. James has performed roles in Bourne’s Swan Lake, Nutcracker!, Highland Fling, Edward Scissorhands and The Car Man. Further theatre credits include being Robbie and first cover Johnny in the West End production of Dirty Dancing at the Aldwych Theatre, and starring as the leading man, Don Lockwood, in the 2013/2014 UK tour of Singin’ In The Rain.

Currently, James is one of two performers alternating the title role in the Birmingham Repertory Theatre production of The Snowman at The Peacock Theatre, London dance house Sadler’s Wells’ West End venue. This enchanting show is based on the 1982 animated film, which was inspired by Raymond Briggs’ 1978 children’s book. The narrative sees a young boy and his snowman share a magical night of friendship, fun and flying.

Directed by Bill Alexander, the stage show tells the story entirely through music and dance. It features a musical score and lyrics by the film’s composer Howard Blake – including the classic theme song Walking in the Air – and choreography by Robert North.

The Snowman is now an annual seasonal staple in the capital. The five-week Christmas 2017 run marks the production’s 20th year at The Peacock Theatre, making it the longest-running Christmas show in English theatre history. In November 2017 the cast toured the show to Manchester and Glasgow. The tour will resume throughout January 2018, with performances in Southampton, Milton Keynes and Brighton.

Without a doubt, The Snowman has become a much-loved festive tradition for audiences and cast members alike. Indeed, James is presently donning the fluffy white Snowman suit for his sixth year in the title role. A father to two young children, and an experienced performer, he is full of admiration for this timeless show…



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Dazzling dance musical An American in Paris is a breathtakingly beautiful show.

The acclaimed stage adaptation of the classic 1951 Hollywood film, which starred Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, is directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon. Widely admired on both sides of the Atlantic, thanks to his work with The Royal Ballet and New York City Ballet, Wheeldon is a seasoned master who skilfully uses the power of dance to drive the whole musical.

An American In Paris features an impressive array of dance styles and really seems to be the epitome of the maxim “why walk when you can dance?”. Everything moves with a spring in its step – from the radiant lead performers to the stunning sets – and there is a remarkable fluidity as the cast dance their way through the sensuous tale of art, friendship and love.

This lavish production certainly made me fall in love with dance all over again, and I thought I was already as besotted as it is possible to be!


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Contemporary tunes and a myriad of movement styles ensure Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace’s Tango Moderno is an entertaining and easy to follow dance show.

It takes two to Tango – unless you are Flavia Cacace missing regular partner Vincent Simone. The former Strictly Come Dancing professionals’ new production (co-choreographed with director and choreographer Karen Bruce) uses the power and passion of well-executed dance to make a series of observations on modern life. Unfortunately, the dazzling duo are struggling to grace the stage together so far on the tour due to Vincent suffering with a recurrent injury.

Still, the show must go on and the always fabulous Flavia was partnered by not one but two stand-in dancers on opening night at Milton Keynes Theatre: Pasquale La Rocca and Leonel Di Cocco.



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Everyone knows it takes two to Tango and dancing duo Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace are teaming up once again to show us exactly how it’s done.

The former Strictly Come Dancing professionals return to Milton Keynes Theatre with Tango Moderno, a smouldering new stage spectacular, this month.

We last saw Vincent and Flavia in November 2015 during their farewell tour. This final hurrah was meant to be all about them officially bidding adieu to the world of theatre with their third production, The Last Tango.



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