There’s no breaking of the fourth wall in Johnny McKnight’s dark but hilarious new take on Cinderella. His script relocates the musical play - not a pantomime - to contemporary Paris where Martin McCormick’s vain and vacuous Prince (that’s a name, not a title) Pierre is a reality TV star.
Julie Heatherill (Cinderella) and Martin McCormick (Prince Pierre) in Cinderella at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh Photo: Eoin Carey
Mark Thomson’s strong and focussed direction allows many traditional pantomime staples, ugly sisters, shiny slippers and even a 12 carrot necklace, to remain. The theatrical structure gives Gail Watson’s wonderful, flying Mother, power to drive the plot from the tree around which her ashes are scattered in the opening scene.
Alan Penman’s original songs are instantly hummable and given marvellously witty lyrics by McKnight. Ken Harrison’s set design is emblematically French, but he has had huge fun with a wardrobe which remains within the bounds of contemporary fashion.
Julie Heatherill is in great voice as a ravishing and superbly human Ella, with Spencer Charles Noll an endearing and elegantly created Boy. Grant O’Rourke is solid as Father, but comes into his own as Bumble, Prince Pierre’s wing man and valet. Jayne McKenna’s stepmother Monique could be more wicked, but Nicola Roy and Jo Freer’s uglies, Colette and Camille, are spot-on villainesses - pure, dead vicious, so they are.