CINDERELLA AND THE BEANSTALK
by Sleeping Trees & Tom Attenborough.
Theatre 503 The Latchmere 503 Battersea Park Road SW11 3BW To 10 January 2015.
Tue–Sat 7pm Mat Wed 1.30pm Sat & Sun 3pm.
Runs 1hr 55min One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7978 7040.
Review: William Russell 5 December.
Fun for all the family.
Pantomime comes in infinite variety, and this three man show featuring Sleeping Trees – James Dunnell-Smith, Joshua George Smith and John Woodburn – is certainly out of the ordinary.
They play a trio of impresarios staging a panto only to find that the audience has turned up, but not the cast. Since returning the ticket money is not an option they decide, with a little help from lone guitarist Mark Newnham, who also does sound effects, to play all the parts themselves. The result is mayhem and delighted the young in the audience no end – they suggest it is suitable for age 8+ but I would reckon one could drop that a couple of years.
The plot involves Cinderella ending up the beanstalk along Mr Cow, where they meet Jack who planted the beans, and steal the golden eggs. But her dim boyfriend, Prince Charming, cuts the beanstalk down, stranding them. Rumplestiltskin is the villain of the piece, all sorts of fairytale characters from King Rat, to Tinkerbell, Dick Whittington and the Genie of the Lamp, make appearances, requiring considerable dexterity from the cast, and everything ends happily ever after.
Parents may have a little difficulty explaining how it is that Mr Cow gives birth to a calf christened Darren while up the beanstalk – that is what it sounded like, although the uproar from the audience did rather drown the announcement.
The best moments come at the start of Act Two when Dunnell-Smith’s Cinderella decides to go home and watch Home Alone on the telly. The other two react by performing the entire plot of the film in two minutes flat – with lots of help from the audience – thus ensuring he stays to complete the show.
Smith is a delightful Fairy Godmother, among other roles, while Woodburn makes the dim Prince Charming suitably thick, among other roles. At the end Needham, who has been twanging his guitar in the corner and providing the sound effects, comes to the rescue as Father Christmas.
It is an inventive, charming, family friendly show which parents will enjoy as much as their children.
Cinderella/Ensemble: James Dunnell-Smith.
Fairy Godmother/Ensemble: Joshua George Smith.
Prince Charming/Ensembler: John Woodburn
Ensemble: Mark Newnham.
Director: Tom Attenborough.
Designer/Costume: Simon A Wells.
Lighting: Ali Hunter.
Composer: Mark Needham.
Movement: Polly Bennett.
Assistant director: Dom Riley.