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

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.
https://www.thestage.co.uk/pantomime/ [1]

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

Production Information

Production
Cinderella
Venue
Theatre Royal
City
Wakefield
Starts
November 22, 2018
Ends
January 6, 2019
Press night
November 23, 2018
Authors
Daniel O’Brien
Director
Rhiannon Hannon
Musical director
Jim Lunt
Set
Mark Walters
Lighting
Di Clough
Sound
John Trenouth
Stage manager
Debbie Harlow (deputy stage manager), Katie Flatters (assistant stage manager)
Cast includes
Samantha Palin, Luke Harley, Brandi Himmelreich, Georgie Ashford, Jordan Harrington, Sarah Louise Hughes P
Producer
Theatre Royal Wakefield
Running time
2hrs 45mins