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Cinderella review at the Victoria Theatre, Halifax – ‘plenty of seasonal magic’

Cinderella at the Victoria Theatre, Halifax

This is a lively family pantomime that still believes in fairies. Instead of the semi-comic wand waggler that is fast becoming standard fairy fare, experienced children’s writers Iain Lauchlan and Will Brenton make the Fairy Godmother both a dreamweaver and a catalyst for transformation, climaxing in an expertly choreographed sequence when Ann Micklethwaite’s radiant enchantress summons-up a flying, horse-drawn carriage that takes Cinderella’s downtrodden life in a new direction.

The show adheres to the tradition of the gender-blurring female principal boy. Claire Trusson and Katherine Lunney invest Prince Charming and Dandini with all the right over-the-top, manly swagger. Likewise, Tim Churchill and Steve Fortune’s cosmetically challenged Ugly Sisters, wearing a succession of deranged frocks, are obvious caricatures.

Carly Burns’ Cinderella is certainly no winsome pushover for these two harridans, and Neil Hurst’s jolly Buttons has no trouble drawing the audience into the story. Combining imaginatively staged chorus work with powerful vocals, Robert Marsden’s production easily brings out a clear moral message too – and even includes a fresh twist on the ghost gag.

However, an underpowered slosh scene just looks messy and things tend to flag in the second half, while the cast battle against an ear-grating sound system that probably requires a fairy fix.

Verdict
Rooted in pantomime heritage, this show delivers plenty of up-to-the-minute seasonal magic

Production

Production
Cinderella
Venue
Victoria Theatre
City
Halifax
Starts
December 12, 2015
Ends
January 3, 2016
Press night
December 18, 2015
Authors
Will Brenton, Iain Lauchlan
Director
Robert Marsden
Musical director
Peter Golding
Choreographer
Laura Ann Smith
Design
Jay Poole (scenic artist)
Lighting
Tim Speechley
Sound
Oliver Patterson
Technical
Caterina Almeida (company manager), Katie Griffin (wardrobe supervisor), Lyndsey Holmes (assistant stage manager/props)
Production manager
Garry Hoare
Cast includes
Carly Burns, Tim Churchill, Steve Fortune, Neil Hurst, Katherine Lunney, Ann Micklethwaite, Claire Trusson
Producer
Imagine Theatre
Running time
2hrs 30mins