Cinders proved she was more than worthy to go to the ball in an all-singing, all-dancing spectacular at the Swan Theatre.

Wickedly good ugly sisters, a handsome prince – and a Buttons with genuinely funny gags – were just a few of the reasons why we loved our 2022 panto experience in Worcester.

From the traditional boos, hisses, shouts of “he’s behind you” and local reference to having your hub caps nicked in Malvern (!) - the show didn’t disappoint.

And this take on Cinderella came with a modern twist, too.

It’s not every panto there’s TikTok crazes, a bit of Olly Murs and a nod to The Greatest Showman with the finale song being Zendaya and Zac Efron’s ‘Rewrite the Stars’.

You can always tell if a panto is doing what it’s meant to judging by the reaction from the audience – and children (and adults) had a glint in their eye throughout.

The entrance of the ugly sisters – Ian Good and Ian Parkin as Buttercup and Daisy – got laughs from the get-go with their OTT costumes, frighteningly glam make up and sour personalities.

From the stage design to Cinderella’s glittering carriage and dazzling dress – the production sparkled from start to finish and was a much-needed dose of good old-fashioned family fun.

Young dancers didn’t put a step wrong, while Cinderella (Martha-Frances Henry) and her Fairy Godmother (Jess Ellmer) both had superb singing voices.

It didn’t matter that there wasn’t a reality TV star on the bill as every character shone in their own right - and the show was equally as good as any larger theatre performance.

The message of being true to yourself and loving your inner beauty was also key in a day-and-age of endless social media scrolling.

If the true magic and sparkle of local panto could be bottled up and bought, then Worcester Rep’s Cinderella would be a bestseller.