Review – Cinderella

December 4, 2012 | By | Reply More

✭✭✭✭✭

Royal Lyceum: 7 – 29 December 2012
Guest Review by Irene Brown

A child scattering her mother’s ashes with her bereaved father is an unusual, to say the least, opening to a Christmas show.

Yet this is exactly how playwright Johnny McKnight opens his novel and totally updated version of the classic fairy tale of Cinderella. He has taken the bones of the well-known story and dragged it in its fantoush footwear across the channel to not just contemporary Paris but also to a land even more foreign: that of reality TV.

Julie Heatherill as Cinderella and Martin McCormick as Prince Pierre. Photo - Eamonn McGoldrick

Julie Heatherill as Cinderella and Martin McCormick as Prince Pierre. Photo – Eamonn McGoldrick

The original tale, of Cendrillon, came from French writer Charles Perrault in the 17th century. So McKnight is just sending it home in a new set of 21st century clothes, wonderfully designed by Ken Harrison.

Cinderella (Julie Heatherill) and her widowed Papa (Grant O’Rourke) are living simply and contentedly in a Paris gently evoked by accordion, baguettes and jam. Their world is turned upside down by the arrival of the magnificently evil Monique La Mort (Jayne McKenna) who even stabs herself with fork like a modern day Marquise de Merteuil, and her two gallusly gauche and parasitical daughters, Camille (Jo Freer) and Colette (Nicola Roy).

Through an evil potion, Monique creates a spell over men to make them think they love her then, vampire-like, feeds on this unrequited love from them and those close to them, in this case Monsieur et Mademoiselle Gérard.

Outrageous shenanigans…

Narcissistic Prince Pierre (Martin McCormick) is celebrity royalty, rather than than the blue-blooded type. He is only looking for a wife because his life in the spotlight threatened by his TV tycoon mother, Queen Bea, if he doesn’t. He wants to dine by candlelight in his mock Versailles home with every young woman in the land so he can reluctantly choose his spouse.

"You're gorgeous!" Left to right- Jo Freer (Camille), Jayne McKenna (Monique La Mort), Nicola Roy (Colette), Martin McCormick (Prince Pierre) and Grant O' Rourke (Bumble). Photo- Eamonn McGoldrick

“You’re gorgeous!” Left to right- Jo Freer (Camille), Jayne McKenna (Monique La Mort), Nicola Roy (Colette), Martin McCormick (Prince Pierre) and Grant O’ Rourke (Bumble). Photo- Eamonn McGoldrick

With lots of outrageous shenanigans, songs and plenty of puns in between, the story ends with a fine moral ending as is fitting for a Christmas show.

McKnight has made a giant salute to pantomime and tradition while creating thoroughly modern references. Much of these are quite adult but wash nicely over the heads of the younger audience members whose faces remained innocent through the esoteric Only Way is Essex catch phrases.

The panto character of Buttons appears in the form the mute Boy (Spencer Charles Noll) who is at once feral and feart. Noll is the perfect clown throughout, singing at times before he finds his voice at the end – and silently stealing the show till then.

Cinderella’s dead mother (Gail Watson) whose spirit lives in the tree where her ashes have been scattered, appears dressed exactly as she should be – halfway between a fairy and a mother, making her the perfect Fairy Godmother.

The show’s second half is shorter and tighter, but it is hard to find fault with this top notch production that brings together the best of old and new. The whole cast is fantastic, the set is smart, the music is vibrant and the costumes are superlative – besides being drawn in their glory in the comprehensive programme (with free badge!). The dialogue is slick and funny and the only thing missing was Cinderella’s slipper.

A brilliant Franco-Scottish version of Cendrillon that is all sun beds, scooters and scarily high heeled shoes. The Auld Alliance is clearly alive and well in the hands of Johnny McKnight.

Gail Watson is in fine voice as Mother. Photo: Eamonn McGoldrick

Gail Watson is in fine voice as Mother. Photo: Eamonn McGoldrick

Running time 2 hrs 10 mins.
Run ends 29 December 2012
Shows: various times and dates.

Fri 7 Dec: 7pm
Sat 8 Dec: 2.30pm, 7pm

Thurs 13 Dec: 7pm
Fri 14 Dec: 7pm
Sat 15 Dec: 2.30pm, 7pm

Wed 19 Dec: 7pm
Thurs 20 Dec: 2.30pm, 7pm
Fri 21 Dec: 2.30pm, 7pm
Sat 22 Dec: 2.30pm, 7pm
Sun 23 Dec: 2.30pm
Mon 24 Dec: 2.30pm

Weds 26 Dec: 2.30pm
Thurs 27 Dec: 1.30pm, 5.30pm
Fri 28 Dec: 1.30pm, 5.30pm
Sat 29 Dec: 1.30pm, 5.30pm

See Lyceum website for full details: www.lyceum.org.uk

ENDS

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Your comments