IT’S hard to bring something fresh to Cinderella. But the Highcliffe Charity Players' colourful production adds some novel touches to a familiar tale without skimping on the traditional story beats or short-changing the little ones seeing it on stage for the first time.

Although there’s a bucketload of bad jokes, we are spared the usual quota of risque double entendres which makes a refreshing change.

At the heart of all this is the brilliant Buttons - played by the company’s very own Charles Michael Duke who also co-wrote the script. Charles, 23 from Highcliffe, who has cystic fibrosis wrote the pantomime while in hospital waiting for a double lung transplant.

(Charles was onstage at the Regent in the annual Christmas Spectacular written by his mum when his lungs collapsed in 2015).

There are plenty of contemporary touches including modern musical numbers like Footloose and classic pop hits. And get ready to boo Donald Trump when he rocks up at the Prince's ball.

The Ugly Sisters (Tooti and Frooti brilliantly overplayed by Peter Whitaker and Mike Young), provide the necessary pantomime-style slapstick - younger audience members particularly loved the scene where the sisters ‘pass wind’ very loudly!

There’s a few nods to other panto characters too including the seven dwarfs - their costumes are inspired. Cinderella (played by the appropriately named Charlotte Starr) also manages a clever onstage costume change from rags to ballgown in front of our eyes.

Her prince is played by Matt Jenkins, a local PR man with a surprisingly good voice and Barry Gray makes an excellent debut as the Lord Chamberlain.

In fact it's easy to forget that this is an amateur dramatic production. It's so jam packed with quick fire jokes that it's easy to miss some of the lines.

All in all a well- pitched production accompanied by a brilliant live orchestra and some pyrotechnics. There’s still time to catch Cinderella which runs until Saturday, January 26. To book visit or call 01202 499199.