John Binnie adds a circus theme to Cinderella for his second year directing and writing the Brunton panto, allowing him to bulk up both the character and the impact of the title role.
Eilidh Weir’s feisty Cinders is still abused and put down by Wendy Seager as the evil fairy Stepmother – who fed Cinderella’s father to the lions and now wants to sell the circus – and ends up getting her Prince Charlie (Lewis Lauder), but she is much more proactive and in charge of her own destiny.
Binnie keeps the script impeccably local, weaving the area into the narrative rather than just tossing in the occasional local football reference. Robin Mitchell’s bold set is similarly recognisable with his costumes making the best of a limited budget.
The production relies more on atmosphere than volume for its dynamic, thanks to musical director Tommie Travers’ subtle sound design. If this makes for a gentler and less punchy production, it does not lack impact, although Estrid Barton needs to make her good Fionnuala Fairy less wishy washy.
The upside is a real sense of camaraderie in the audience interaction. Ross Donnachie’s Buttons is a proper audience pal, working his low key comedy with panache, while Graham Crammond and Andrew Dyer as Mince and Tatties, the gloriously attired Uglies, are rather less figures of hate than is usual.
This is a real community show and proof you don’t need any actual circus skills, just a few songs from the Greatest Showman and the chance to tickle your audience’s imagination, to pull a big top onto the stage.