CINDERELLA: A PANTOMIME
Metro Theatre, Until Jan 6th
My Two Pence
By Liz Gloucester
I would like to preface this review by saying I had hoped on becoming a responsible adult, that I would not ever need to attend a pantomime again. They are and always have been cornily written, fluffily acted and a challenge to any audience member over the age of 9 (and possibly under) in facial strength due to the inability to sit through one in its entirety without grimacing. I therefore am refraining from posting a 'rating' for this show. I grimaced a lot, but I also left with a smile on my face. It may have taken a few drinks to get there, but the cast and crew showed up to entertain a delighted crowd.
The leading women in this production of Cinderella are oozing with talent. Cindy Hirschberg sizzles in her role as Step Mother; drawing a great amount of my attention during 'Mexican Tango' and Fairlith Harvey is picture perfect as the Good Fairy with a killer voice to boot. Brianna Clark (Cinderella) and Adam Van Loo (Prince Charming) showed off considerable vocal talent during their love duet 'Just a Kiss' and I was equally impressed with chorus numbers 'The Merry Month of May' and 'Let's Get Clean' where both the music and choreography was tight - congratulations to the wonderful ensemble.
Moments that did not work so well came down to the scenes with the Step Sisters. While certainly looking the part I felt that Jon Morris and James Melcher had been let down a little on the directorial front. While a panto is not Chekhov a little character background and development might have given them more stability and confidence. There was a lot of nervous boob touching and the voices were not always clear. I was also a little confused at the choice to play Melcher's character fierce. Entirely my opinion but dame does not mean drag. The Sisters are supposed to be grotesque figures of fun - not fabulous. Melcher was too fabulous and as a result not clown-like at all.
Panto-veteran Catherine Morrison has written a simple but accessible script with all the magic of fairytale and reality of the hum drum. The resolution is very refreshing and, I hate to use the word progressive as progressive would have been equal rights for all centuries ago, but there you go- This Cinderella knows her own mind and doesn't need a prince to save her - Hurrah!
If you have kids that enjoy heckling Demons, (Attila Mityok did a grand job at keeping a straight face when he was accused of being a robot and a sausage), singing the whole of 12 Days of Christmas and conversing with a friendly barman I would recommend seeing Cinderella. It is fun and keeps things simple after a tough work/holiday week.