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Cinderella review at Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh – ‘an assured reworking’

Rock Conte in Cinderella at the Traverse Theatre. Photo: Mihaela Bodlovic Rock Conte in Cinderella at the Traverse Theatre. Photo: Mihaela Bodlovic
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Shona Reppe’s Cinderella established her as the fairy godmother of Scottish children’s theatre. A piece which, with its tabletop set, puppet Cinders and heartless father (present only as the sound of footsteps passing), allows its six-years-old and over audience to imagine the story’s details and its villainy for themselves.

After 15 years Reppe has passed the production on to fellow puppeteer, Rick Conte, who brings a new masculinity to the show. He is a barker at a side show rather than an elfin sprinkler of magic dust.

There are clever new touches to a production which is still evolving, such as Nigel the Uber driver who comes to pick up the Uglies for the ball – and who also has a carriage licence it seems.

The heart of the show remains the same. Conte creates a real sense of jeopardy for Cinderella as she climbs up the standard lamp to dust at its top, he shares her joy at the cheesy music on Pumpkin Radio and expresses such fear as the Uglies hold her over the lit fire, that he is practically perspiring in the heat.

This is an assured retreading of a great piece of work and one which, it is to hoped, will allow it to live for years to come.

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Rick Conte performs a successful takeover of Shona Reppe's puppet Cinderella