Strictly Come Dancing’s Craig Revel Horwood is very much the star attraction at this Qdos Entertainment production of Cinderella, the most beloved of the traditional pantomimes. The production revolves around him and his on-screen persona.
This is a fairly successful tactic as it turns out. The show gets a lot of mileage from his turn as Baroness Demonica Hardup, snarling appropriately at Cinders and flirting with the Prince. The wicked stepsisters – amusingly named Tess and Claudia – are toned down slightly from the usual gargoyles but still played for laughs by Suzie Chard and Wendy Somerville. Further comedy is provided by Paul Chuckle as the Baron, appearing for the first time without his late brother Barry, who passed away earlier this year.
Alan McHugh’s book provides zero surprises. Fortunately, in Sophie Issacs and Oliver Savile, the show has a strong Cinderella and Prince Charming. They have a nice rapport and rise above the weak script.
Director Michael Gyngell’s production is pacy and effective, but it lacks innovation. The effects are beginning to look tired as do the costumes, save for Revel Horwood’s, which are – inevitably – fabulous.