Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Cinderella review at Theatre Royal Wakefield – ‘poignancy and laughter’

Chris Chilton, Brandi Himmelreich and Chris Hannon in Cinderella at Theatre Royal Wakefield. Photo: Robling Photography

It’s hard to bring something fresh to Cinderella. But Rhiannon Hannon’s confidently mounted production adds some novel touches to a familiar tale without skimping on the traditional story beats or shortchanging the little ones seeing it on stage for the first time.

It’s also a bold move to have Cinders (a refreshingly down-to-earth Georgie Ashford) mourning the loss of her mother and suggest that Samantha Palin’s winningly played fairy godmother is actually her ghost/guardian angel. But Daniel O’Brien’s script manages to interweave such grown-up emotional moments – maximised by unusual song choices such as Ed Sheeran’s touching Supermarket Flowers and a cast full of strong voices – with the usual panto antics to produce a surprisingly multi-layered piece of family entertainment.

There are a few too many bad jokes – even by the standards of panto – but the obligatory topical references to Trump and flossing are sparingly deployed. Reimagining the wicked stepmother as a villainous Russian feels like a cultural throwback, but Brandi Himmelreich gets considerable comic mileage out of a potentially cartoonish role. She combines to great effect with Chris Chilton and Chris Hannon, who manage to make their ugly sisters appalling yet strangely likeable, with Hannon particularly adept at ad-libbing and poking gentle fun at the local crowd.

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
Good-looking, well-pitched production that manages to find room for poignancy among the laughter