Call it an effect of the recession, but the rags-to-riches story of Cinderella has rarely been so popular in London, and not just in the realm of traditional panto. Over at BAC, we have 'Midnight's Pumpkin', Kneehigh's irrepressible take on the ancient story that crosses centuries and cultures. At Kingston's Rose Theatre, there's 'Cinderella The Midnight Princess'; and here, at the recently opened St James Theatre in Victoria, is this outstanding rendering of the tale, from Bristol's Tobacco Factory and the Travelling Light Theatre Company.
The production was a hit in Bristol last Christmas, and it's easy to see why. Like Kneehigh, with whom Travelling Light also share an aesthetic – blending live music with dance, physical theatre, puppetry and audience interaction – this is a 'Cinderella' rooted firmly in the Grimm version, not shying away from its seams of cruelty and violence.
But director Sally Cookson has also woven in elements from other 'Cinderella' stories around the world: so, like Germany's Aschenputtel, our spry, tomboyish Ella (Lisa Kerr), has birds to help her instead of a fairy godmother.
The show has energy, theatricality and charm in spades. The five cast members work hard, swapping easily between roles (Thomas Eccleshare particularly impresses as the geeky, birdwatching Prince); and the two musicians, Brian Hargreaves and Adam Pleeth, provide a toe-tapping folk-jazz soundtrack. It's a very healthy antidote to Disney's saccharine plundering of our ancient folk tales; and, most importantly, a real festive treat for all the family.
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Average User Rating
4.8 / 5
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Feel-Good night out! Go see this production! Its a thoroughly enthusiastic and magical play with music (though not a musical). Simply a wonderful, genuinely whimsical re-imagining of the classic Cinderella story with a talented, open and engaging cast.
Brilliant, a wonderful night: life-affirming, fun and moving. Everything worked perfectly: an original and creative take on the tale, beautifully crafted and acted. A real tonic for the first day back to work. I defy you not to leave this play smiling. Recommended for all children, adults and lovebirds!
A first might standing ovation sets a rare tone. A beautiful piece of theatre, well constructed, perfectly pitched for a wide range of audiences and entertaining in the true sense of the word. Projection in this theatre could be an issue with an unamplified show & there were times when the dialogue was, if not lost then muted to a degree that a full house (of which this show will have many) could struggle with. That aside this is the most magical piece of seasonal theatre imaginable and will melt the hearts of Scrooges everywhere. If you think you know Cinderella, think again!
Amazing piece of theatre. Brilliantly executed. A wonderful, collaborative piece of theatre. Really clever jokes to make you laugh and beautiful writing and effects to draw a tear. Not a miss this Christmas, if panto isn't your thing, this perfect.