Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Cinderella review at Fruit, Hull – ‘witty, charming and anarchic’

Middle Child's Cinderella at Fruit, Hull. Photo: Sarah Beth Middle Child's Cinderella at Fruit, Hull. Photo: Sarah Beth
by -

Hull’s alternative panto more than matches anything in the city for its invention. This sixth Middle Child Christmas show – it’s now something of an institution at Fruit – demonstrates how a witty script, and a cast capable of bantering with the audience, can trump the glitz of a big-budgeted production. One sequence, set by the Humber, is conjured up with little more than a blue plastic sheet.

This all adds to the anarchic atmosphere and is delivered with a knowing wink – “Focus on us, while the set change is going on,” says the sweetly shy Buttons (Matthew May) at one point, as various props are hauled about behind him.

Featuring a live music backing – Prince Charming (Joshua Meredith) takes regular turns behind the drum kit – there’s a fizzy energy to it all, best illustrated by the monstrous ugly sisters. As this lecherous duo, Booty and Liscious, Marc Graham and James Stanyer are a fine double act – taking every opportunity to ad-lib on the strong script.

There’s the expected risque gags, although they’re so well woven in they seem charmingly innocent. A sexually-charged fishing expedition for Prince Charming and Cinderella (Emma Bright), which included a haul of crustaceans, finished with the proud realisation that they’d “caught crabs”.

And the punning opportunity for Cinderella’s seemingly thwarted wish to attend the ball became both a running gag and a musical number on female empowerment: “You can do a lot without balls”, she sings.

All We Ever Wanted Was Everything review at the Welly Club, Hull – ‘surreal and exhilarating’

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
Middle Child’s witty, charming and anarchic alternative panto is fast on its way to being a Hull institution