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