While Polka Dot sticks to the popular version of the centuries-old story, including a fairy godmother, glass slippers and ugly sisters, a fresh element of popular culture is threaded throughout, making it all the more appealing to young children. Nowhere is this more noticeable than in the music, which has a very contemporary sound and styling, perfectly suiting the voices of Eloise Smith as Cinderella and Jamie Jukes as Prince Charming.
A scene from Cinderella at Cinderella Thameside, Grays
The old-school entertainment is provided by Gemma Bissix as trainee Fairy Flustered, eschewing the drama of EastEnders and Hollyoaks for comic rhyming couplets and a chance to graduate as a qualified fairy. Chris Simmons makes a rather gentle Buttons, easily gaining the affection of his audience with his ready one-liners.
The lions’ share of the comedy, however, rests with the Ugly Sisters, here played with gusto by Andrew Lazarus and Wain Douglas. These two meaty dames immediately dominate the stage with their outrageous costumes, wicked banter and slick routines, taking the audience participation in their stride. The burlesque ballet, which Douglas also choreographed, is a triumph that brings the house down.