Good adult pantomimes can be great fun, as has been proved by Above the Stag, Leicester Square and the Royal Vauxhall Tavern among others. The Canal Cafe has a reputation for presenting good contemporary comedy but Tinderella, this year’s adult panto, penned by Mark Daniels, is as light on laughs as it is on production values and plot.
Cinderella here is a sexually frustrated millennial named Ella forced to skivvy for the step-mother who’s denied her a mobile phone. Enter the Fairy Matchmaker who thoughtfully provides her with one and arranges a Tinder date for her with the handsome if feckless Roger, who works part-time as a Prince at Winter Wonderland.
Lawrence Bolton is appealing as the statuesque Fairy Matchmaker. He has all the the best gags and costume changes. He works hard to build enthusiasm but he’s fighting a losing battle when the material is as irredeemably feeble as it is here.
Lucy Alley-Parker as the Stepmother and Iona Crampton as Ella embrace their roles with vigour but Francesco Roberts as the aimless Roger, just looks understandably embarrassed by much of what he has to do.
Roann McCloskey directs with very little sense of the genre she is burlesquing and as a result, the piece lacks both cohesion and charm.