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Cinderalla (Susan Elkin reviews)

Cinderella 3 stars

Nottingham Playhouse

Photo: Pamela Raith.

I saw this show at a matinee along with the biggest school party I’ve ever seen and every one of them was in the mood for a whooping good time. At times the noise drowned dialogue and songs although it must have been a treat for the cast to play to such a receptive audience. It has to be said, though, that perhaps the script should have been adjusted for this crowd because most of the cleverer jokes and puns went over their heads and fell flat.

John Elkington has masses of Dame experience and he plays Rose with flair and neat comic timing. He and Tom Hopcroft, as Violet, the second younger sister play well off each other too, each with  a specific personality.

A number of things made this pantomime better than some. There several songs known to all the children present so, invited or not, they joined in and it felt very inclusive. And you can’t get more traditional than a quick, slick round of “If I were not upon the stage a policeman I would be …” presented as entertainment at the ball.

A rather engaging “scary” (not) ghost sequence with ultra-violet light and disembodied arms apparently moving on their own was such fun that the conventional ghost scene after it seemed lack-lustre.

The  use of a chorus of woodland animals with gorgeous masks is a nice touch and the model flying horse which pulls the coach to the ball and actually achieves lift off is good. Design is by Cleo Pettit and includes an attractive stained glass window-inspired stage frame with lots of glowing pumpkins, There was also a good comedy scene in which Hopcroft plays with the follow spot.

I was amused at the momentary horror when a chunk was hacked off a foot to make it fit the slipper. It seemed gross and rare in Panto. In fact it is straight out of Perrault (1628-1703) who wrote the original pre-Disney, pre-panto story which is much more gruesome than the sanitised version we’re used to,

There are some strong performances in this show. Jewelle Hutchinson delights as Cinderella – all sweetness and dignity. She has a fine singing voice too. So does Alice Redmond who doubles the Fairy Godmother (all soft vowels) with the cackling RP-speaking step mother. Danny Hendrix holds the audience well as Buttons and when he eventually presses his “Big Golden Button” – well it’s a spontaneous applause moment.


Author information
Susan Elkin Susan Elkin is an education journalist, author and former secondary teacher of English. She was Education and Training Editor at The Stage from 2005 - 2016
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