by Fine Time Fontayne & Kevin Shaw.
Coliseum Theatre Fairbottom Street OL1 3SW To 12 January 2013.
Runs 2hr 30min One interval.
TICKETS: 0161 624 2829.
Review: Stoon 30 November 2012.
Cinderella finds a new home, if not – quite – the production.
Plush foyer carpets and Club Class padded seats with room aplenty to stretch prove there is a fairy godmother of refurbishment – the auditorium’s transformation is 4-star and will surely reward the Coliseum with higher overall ticket sales despite the reduced capacity.
The fixtures & fittings may’ve leap-frogged into the 21st century but the Panto’s forged in the traditional Coliseum template, tweaked in 2011 to incorporate an in-house script and heavily replicating previous performers – five of the seven-strong cast returning along with all-bar-one of the production principals.
Consistency breeds improvement; it’s more entertaining and fluid than 2011’s Dick Whittington. Yet the (Cinderella) story’s too incidental, drip-fed in snippets as interludes in the music hall/light ent fest that forms the bulk of viewing, and which in turns suffers from occasional contrivance to accommodate the mandatory participatory elements.
Praiseworthy is the heritage value. Richard J Fletcher as Buttons and (a subdued) Fine Time Fontayne admirably lead the audience through the requisite hoops of sweet chucking, birthday roll calls et al whilst Cinders herself is a glowing ember of goodness. But it’s the Ugly Sisters who add vibrant value, stirring memories of their untamed Northern Stage namesakes let loose at Edinburgh 2012.
The young ‘uns loved it and older folk had their moments too – Fontayne’s gripe about no longer being able to split the audience down the middle during the sing-song battle due the lack of a post refurb central aisle was a sweet moment and costumes were eye-candy.
The revamped environment picks at a self-awareness. Not a reflection of production values but a case of it feeling a tad dated in such modernised surroundings. Change is tricky and not always for the best and the piece holds its own by virtue of familiarity of cast and rooted tradition, but evolution is required to raise the stakes beyond a decent localised affair via a controlled hybrid of the established and uncharted.
Prince Charming: Justine Elizabeth Bailey.
Mother Glodwick/Dandini: Liz Carney.
Salmonella Hardup: Paul David Gough.
Buttons: Richard J Fletcher.
Baroness Bunty Hardup: Fine Time Fontayne.
Cinderella: Lisa Holliman.
Rubella Hardup: Leigh Symonds.
Director: Kevin Shaw.
Designer: Celia Perkins.
Lighting: Ben Payne.
Sound: Lorna Munden.
Musical Director: Dave Bintley.
Choreographer: Beverley Edmonds.
Assistant lighting: Jane Barrek.
Assistant choreographers: Ellen Golding, Kelsey Moran.