Cinderella

Joanna Read and Stuart Thomas
Salisbury Playhouse
(2005)

Publicity image

Fairy godmothers are not that they were. Neither, for that matter, are Prince Charming (Dudley Hinton) and his Dandini (Nick Ingram), both in this new version by Joanna Read and Stuart Thomas being undeniably masculine.

For the rest, however, this is a Cinderella the kids love. And most of the parents are happy, too. A pretty girl in the person of Reanne Farley, an amiable Buttons played by Andrew Macklin, and all the ramaining ingredients of a truly traditional antomime more or less intact.

Sabina Franklyn's Fairy Godmother lacks the make believe-magic of Christmas theatre while Felicity Duncan's Wicked Stepmother, for all her spiteful snarls, is rather comely for such an evil one.

Yet Richard Foxton's lilac-pink settings open the familiar story with the village square filled with happy young people singing along to Andy Allpass's breezy tunes. Indeed, many of us would wecome more of these, especially when we discover the pleasant voices of Miss Farley and Messrs Hinton and Ingram.

Alas, we get more singing from the Ugly Sisters, otherwise excellently performanced by Carl Patrick and Tom Edden as Dolcelate and Gorgonzola, with some outstanding little numbers from the wardrobe.

Of all the traditional pantomimes, Cinderella has been rated as the finest by this writer ever since an early forties trip to Chester Royalty with tiny cousin linked with the title role, mother and aunt named Ugly Sisters and myself, innevitably, accorded the role of Buttons. Naturally, since it was a Teddy Carlton production, all the company were better than that.

But never mind, Salisbury's production this year will do for me. And for the kids, too - their enthusiasm knows no bounds and the young audience participation is, to say the least, lusty and enthusiastic.

"Cinderella" continues at Salisbury Playhouse until 7th January.

Reviewer: Kevin Catchpole