This cheerful but thinly-scripted, limply directed show disappoints. Here is old-style, Edwardian-style (or even Plautian) panto, mainly aimed at young children, but with contemporary allusions, puns and quips that mostly go over their heads.
True, like amateur Gilbert and Sullivan, this Cinders has redeeming features: Andy Pierce’s cuddly, audience-rousing Buttons; the classy duo of Nicola Foxfield, superb visually and vocally as Prince Charming, plus Miriam Edwards’ intelligent aide-de-camp Dandini; two poorly moved, hilariously attired, grisly Ugly Sisters (Steve Kray, Ellis Creez); and five young dancers who, lacking ballet precision, serve up charming, if sometimes irrelevant, entractes.
Gerry Hinks, a pottering Baron Hardup, forgets to direct himself. The real strength is in the vocals. All have good voices - Foxfield above all, but also Josephine McHugh’s touching Cinderella and an underacted Baroness (Rebecca Gage). The songs were old stuff, but worked: from the opening burst of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum one expected Frankie Howerd to step out of the wings.
As well as all the solos, the cast’s ensemble singing was impressive too. Front and backdrops were nicely painted: so a tick for the Civic’s uncredited design team.