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“Flat and uninspired”

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space for locally-flavoured humour and dirty punning, but an uncomfortable streak of body-image gags and embarrassingly outdated gay jokes sours the tone.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.


Production Details
Production nameCinderella
VenueChurchill Theatre
StartsDecember 1, 2018
EndsDecember 30, 2018
Running time2hrs 10mins
AuthorAlan Mchugh, Jonathan Kiley
DirectorAndrew Ryan
Costume designerMike Coltman
Lighting designerGraham J Mclusky
Sound designerAdam Fisher
CastLesley Joseph, Charlotte Haines, Gary Watson, Graham Hoadly, Jack Land Noble, James Darch, Phil Reid
VerdictServiceable assembly-line panto in need of an overhaul
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Dave Fargnoli

Dave Fargnoli

Dave Fargnoli

Dave Fargnoli

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