CINDERELLA AND THE BEANSTALK
by Sleeping Trees music and lyrics by Mark Newnham.
Theatre 503 above The Latchmere 503 Battersea Park Road SW11 3BW To 2 January 2016.
Tue–Sun 7pm (except 1 Dec 7.45pm, Mat Sat (from 5 Dec), Sun & 18, 23, 28-30 December 3pm.
no performance 24-26, 31 Dec, 1 Jan.
Runs 1hr 50min One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7978 70440.
Review: William Russell 26 November.
Inspired seasonal lunacy.
Back by popular demand, this inventive and hilarious demolition job on the traditional world of pantomime, inventively directed by Tom Attenborough, should delight everyone from about the age of six upwards. You do need to know your fairy tales to get the joke.
The situation is simple. Three young men James, Josh and John are presenting a pantomime. Unfortunately the cast has not turned up, but the audience has. Instead of sending everyone home they decide to do it themselves, playing all the parts which, since one of them has a beard and the other a considerable amount of designer stubble creates some intriguing sights. A hairy Cinders is, for instance, quite something.
Helped along by a small, insignificant figure at a keyboard and guitar – he is, actually, the composer of the show – they proceed to run riot. Cinders’ bid to get her Prince involves pretty well every pantomime character imaginable, including Jack of Beanstalk fame, the Genie in the lamp, Rumpelstiltskin, a cow called Mister Cow, the Ugly Sisters – they get played simultaneously by the same man – a Fairy Godmother, the Giant, and the entire cast of ‘Home Alone’.
The songs are jolly, the lyrics funny and the three performers have great timing, lots of charm and everything it takes to delight the audience. There is a lot of audience participation.
To be honest there was a slight falling off in Act Two the night I saw it – the joke about men playing all the parts is milked for all it is worth – but this was possibly due more to the fact Act Two opens with a hilarious two man rendering of all of ‘Home Alone’ which is a hard act to follow.
It is performed to stop James, who plays Cinders, from going home to watch the film on television and is possibly the funniest part of the entire show. This is quite simply a pantomime kids can take Mum and Dad two and know that the parents will enjoy it as much as they do.
All the characters: James Dunnell-Smith, Joshua George Smith, John Woodburn.
Director: Tom Attenborough.
Designer: Simon Anthony Wells.
Lighting: Ali Hunter.
Musical director: Mark Newnham.