Brian Beacom

PANTO season has to mean the chance to see the greatest panto ever written, Cinderella.

However, Oran Mor’s Christmas offering has decided to take a fresh look at the story, and the character of Cinders.

In Cinderella 2: I Married A Numpty, we see the scales fall from Cinders’ eyes as she realises the idea of marrying a handsome prince isn’t always the best plan.

It turns out Prince (John Kielty) is a mammy’s boy and life at the Palace is pure murder.

With heart throb Buttheid (also John Kielty) in tow, Cinders makes her escape – much to the chagrin of oor dame, Auntie Etta (Dave Anderson) who is thrown out of her grace and favour but n’ ben in Bearsden.

Meanwhile the remaining Ugly Sister, wan-tooth Winnie (Clare Waugh) has had a makeover and plans her long awaited vengeance.

But will she be a match for the new super-powered Cinders?

“This is Cinderella with attitude,” says Joanne McGuinness, who plays the young lady who wrongly figured all her dreams had come true.

“There’s a lot of fun to be had in that, with Cinders being the Glaswegian voice of reason.”

“Cinderella is definitely not a wet character at all. She’s realised she made the mistake in not marrying for love. “

She adds, grinning; “And it has come back to haunt her. I think the audience will love it.”

Airdrie-born Joanne loves panto.

“I love everything about it,” she says in determined voice.

“I love the fact you have to be on the moment. You have to listen hard, and if another actor slips up you have to be ready to go with them.

“I even love the heckling, then you get the chance to say ‘Oh, my mum’s in tonight.’

“You never go away from panto thinking it’s been a bad night.”

Joanne didn’t grow up with the idea of becoming an actor.

“It wasn’t until I was set to go to uni that I felt it wasn’t the right thing to do.

“Right at the last minute I asked myself if I’d be happy. And I felt I would only really be happy if I were on stage.”

Joanne auditioned for Gamta and three years on reckoned she could in fact make acting a career.

“I was only eighteen, when I took the chance but I’m really happy I did.”

Her career to date has revealed some great highs. Joanne starred in the international tour of hit musical Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour.

“We went to America with it but the big moment for me was appearing in Melbourne.

“My brother lives in New Zealand and he came over to Melbourne to see the show. I met his girlfriend and it was really lovely, a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

When Joanne, who played Wendy in Peter Pan at the King’s Theatre three years ago, finishes panto she’s off to London to star in Alan Ayckbourn play, The Divide.

“I play a bully,” she says smiling of the six-hour highly intense play in which she appeared at the Edinburgh International Festival.

“She’s the complete opposite of Cinderella.

“I’ll leave here in January and go straight to the Old Vic in London, in the New Year. What a contrast.”

Joanne, who lives in London, reveals she has played Cinderella in the past. But the more traditional, rather vapid creature who pins all her hopes on a man.

“I played Cinderella in Ayr nine years ago. And it’s the only time I’ve played Cinderella as being soft.

“The panto ran at the Citadel Leisure Centre while the Gaiety Theatre was being refurbished.”

She adds, laughing; “When we were on stage we could hear the kids splashing in the swimming pool.”

She admits there is no better way to end the year than in working in panto.

“I did Dragon (the silent theatre show, twice, Glasgow Girls and Our Ladies which were really intense.

“It’s good for the soul to be silly.”

And you get paid for being silly as well?

“Yes, it means I can get the Christmas presents in,” she says, smiling.

• Cinderella 2: I Married a Numpty.