Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Buttons: A Cinderella Story review at King’s Head Theatre, London – ‘a quirky adaptation’

John Savournin in Buttons: A Cinderella Story at King's Head, London. Photo: Bill Knight
by -

The Charles Court Opera annual pantomime has become an Islington tradition. Artistic director and author John Savournin enjoys subverting classic stories and this year’s offering is no exception. Adapted from the Cinderella story, Buttons is the name of her beloved teddy bear, granted the gift of life so that he can declare his love for her.

Cinders’ mum Betty is in love with the local bobby, PC Pumpkin. Jennie Jacobs’ Prince Charming meanwhile is a serial killer intent on maintaining the spell that keeps him handsome.

The daffy plot is accompanied by some wonderful adaptations of popular songs, including a trippy transformation sequence performed to Bohemian Rhapsody and a cake-making scene set to Beyonce’s Single Ladies.

While the story features plenty of quirky twists including a Mafioso puppet fairy godfather and Savournin on form as a lewd and leering Betty, the script doesn’t have that same imaginative sparkle as some past offerings. There are also none of the usual flights of fancy in Louie Whitemore’s set design, though it at least accommodates Shelby Williams’ choreography. There is still plenty to enjoy here though, including cast regular Matt Kellett’s amiable Buttons and Jacobs’ scenery chewing interpretation of the most arrogant of pantomime princes.


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
Quirky adaptation full of popular tunes but lacking the usual intelligence and ambition of Charles Court Opera’s Christmas shows