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Cinderella review at Beck Theatre, Hayes – ‘mostly soulless’

The Ugly Sisters in Cinderella at Beck Theatre, Hayes

With Linda Robson in 2014’s panto and Pauline Quirke this year, all the Beck Theatre needs is Lesley Joseph for a Birds of a Feather full house. Quirke is the Fairy Godmother in this Qdos panto, a mostly soulless production that lacks pace and polish.

No one’s expecting Cinderella to be at the vanguard of theatrical innovation, of course, but something a bit less ‘by numbers’ wouldn’t hurt. And by the time the interval hits, most of the plot has been covered so the second half is mostly filler – an unnecessary song medley, a strange re-hash of Abbot and Costello’s ‘Who’s On First’ sketch.

A couple of funny gags and a good way with the audience save Luke Baker’s Buttons, who plays the part like an old-school club comedian. And Samuel Buttery, who played Buttons in the Lyric Hammersmith panto last year, is a much better fit as an ugly sister, a hideous grotesque alongside Richard Foster-King.

Apart from that, it underwhelms. The ensemble are a bit off in their dancing, Daisy Steere’s Cinderella is a bland, blank slate. It’s just a matter of too many loose seams: the wobbling sliver of moon descending from the flies with Pauline Quirke gripping on tightly with a nervous grimace; Cinderella’s strained, expressionless singing voice; a pace that drops dead at each scene change. It suffers from pretensions to lavishness that this mid-scale production can’t quite meet.

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Verdict
A mostly soulless production of Cinderella that lacks pace and polish
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