There’s a fine line between embracing tradition and going through the motions. Stripped back to the barest plot beats, this glitzy but uninspired Cinderella might look the part, but all the fireworks and artificial snow can’t cover the shallowness underneath.
The script, from Alan McHugh and Jonathan Kiley, leaves plenty of space for locally-flavoured humour and dirty punning, but an uncomfortable streak of body-image gags and embarrassingly outdated gay jokes sours the tone.
As Cinders, Charlotte Haines puts warmth into a role written with even less agency and personality than most. Beside her, Phil Reid is hard to warm to as a deliberately childish Buttons, but gamely embraces the slapstick elements. Lesley Joseph alone channels some significant charisma into her character, as a put-upon, seen-it-all Fairy Godmother humblebragging about her previous successes in other well-loved tales.
Director Andrew Ryan keeps the pace tight, trotting the cast through a sequence of gimmicky skits with efficient energy, while Leigh Thompson’s tunes, all dancy, delirious pop, have enough oomph to get the audience moving now and then. There’s no denying that the show hits all the notes you’d expect, but too often it all feels thoroughly flat.