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Cinderella review at Derby Theatre – ‘utterly refreshing’

Cinderella at Derby Theatre. Photo: Robert Day Cinderella at Derby Theatre. Photo: Robert Day

Mike Kenny’s joyful take on the Cinderella story is wholly original and utterly refreshing. It’s told by the rat pack that swarm over Cinderella’s kitchen and are passionately on her side, a childlike, funky crew who speak in rapid, eager exchanges of single words and exhibit all the manifestations of rat behaviour.

This rag-bag ensemble is made up of eight actor-musicians. Costumed in a kaleidoscope of patchwork colours, they pick up instruments at will to transform themselves into a softly playing guitar group, a string orchestra or a swing band. They’ll perch on the mantelpiece. There’ll be a muted solo violin or a penny whistle. And then they’ll become the key characters in the story, from the bespectacled, reluctant Prince to the Ugly Sisters, the dogged That Un and the aggressive This Un.

Esme Sears is a thoughtful, tender Cinderella, a girl of integrity and in need of self-belief. She has a voice that can soar to reach operatic quality. Nettie Scriven’s set is gorgeous, overhung with a rack of individually illuminated garments that glow with warmth and light up almost in conversation with each other. It is all so inventive, seamless in action and exuding joy and happiness.

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Glorious – a funky, tender and wholly original take on the Cinderella story