This week Vicky meets Buttons from Hard-Up Hall
“I have worked at Hard-Up Hall since I was a lad. My mum used to work here and as a nipper I would help by cleaning shoes and boots,” recalled Buttons, as we chatted by the fireside over tea and the Baroness’s homemade mince pies.
“Before Cinderella’s terrible step-sisters came along she and I would have lots of fun. Since they arrived life has been very different. Cinderella is my best friend and I do my best to make her smile and to cheer her up, but Cruella and Trunchbull are horrid and make her do all the chores. Their rotten father gambled away the Baroness’s money and then scarpered, but he left his nasty daughters behind. They are rude, mean and arrogant,” said the ultimate boy-next-door in a rare moment of anger.
When he’s not busy polishing shoes, running errands and trying to think of ways to make life more bearable for Cinderella, Buttons works on his dream of becoming an entrepreneur.
“I have an idea for expanding my shoe cleaning operation,” he confided. “I have invented a special cleaning cloth that has pantomime magic woven into it and makes shoes really sparkle. I am thinking about applying for The Apprentice next year. I think Lord Sugar would be a good business partner.”
Sensing that he might feel more than friendship for Cinderella (the puppy dog eyes every time he says her name is a big give away), I quizzed him further.
“Stop being so nosey!” he laughed. “Oh, alright then; I love her and I want to marry her. But, sadly, my friend the Fairy Godmother has tipped me off that things may not work out that way for me. She wasn’t very clear - bless her, she’s is sometimes a bit confused - but I think there is a chance that my childhood friend might end up marrying someone important. My money was on that nice Prince Harry, but it looks like Megan has already bagged him. Anyway, although I would be very sad if Cinders and I didn’t get hitched, all that really matters is that she is happy.”
Asked how he will be spending Christmas, Buttons told me that he loves all the traditional elements of the festive season.
“Cinders, the Baroness, our mice chums and all the villagers will have a lovely time singing carols and eating and drinking. The love and friendship of your nearest and dearest is especially precious at Christmas time. I do hope that Observer readers will have a great time with their loved ones. If you love and are loved in return then you are as rich as any person could ever wish to be.”
A fan of Christmas tradition he may be, but Buttons draws the line at one particular seasonal practice: “I definitely won’t be kissing Cruella or Trunchbull under the mistletoe! I wouldn’t kiss them under anaesthetic!”
:: Buttons appears in Cinderella at The Alexandra Theatre, Bognor Regis, until 2 January. Box office: 01243 861010, www.regiscentre.co.uk