CINDERELLA To 5 January.


by Andrew Ryan.

Palace Theatre Leeming Street NG18 1NG To 5 January 2014.
Runs: 2hr 25min One interval.

TICKETS: 01623 633133. theatre
Review: Alan Geary 6 December.

A winner for young and old.
This Cinderella has what it takes: visual splendour, stunning costumes, cracking song and dance, glamour, funny gags, kindly audience participation, decent acting and more. There’s a dollop of harmless bawdiness but writer/director Andrew Ryan delivers a smut-free evening.

The most spectacular scene comes immediately before the break when the Fairy Godmother conjures up coach and horses (a genuine pair of white Shetland ponies) to take Cinders to the ball; and the black-and-white themed finale looks sumptuous. For a change, Cinderella looks more fetching in her ball gown than she does in rags.

Voice/music balance is spot-on; you can appreciate every word from some excellent singers. The dancers, who include two men, four women, and some highly competent local children, are excellent. The evening’s best gag isn’t original – happily, none of them are: “I went for a tramp in the woods” “What happened?” “He got away.”

It’s an unselfish show held together by Dave Benson Phillips’s Buttons, who has a fine rapport with all sections of his audience, ad libbing his way out of tight corners brilliantly. The other star is Ruth ‘Hi Di Hi’ Madoc as a very working-class and Welsh Fairy Godmother. By way of bonus she throws in a holiday camp routine, which adds to the fun.

Cinders is a very Scottish and blonde Martine McMenemy. She has a terrific voice for solos as well as duets with the tall and handsome Prince Charming (Jamie-Ray Hartshorne, who’s well on form). The Prince also does an outstanding duet with sidekick Dandini (an excellent James Templeton). Dandini, incidentally, took a lot of justified applause at the ball for a song and dance number he does with the dancers. The Ugly Sisters, with their outrageous frocks, are played by Bobbie Kent (Ga Ga, the short one) and, stepping in at short notice, Damian Hutchinson (Gertie, the tall one).

A pity about the lack of an anarchic messy scene or some sweet throwing; and nobody gets that hosepipe out to treat the front stalls to a free shower. But in all other respects this is a winner for young and old.

Cinderella: Martine McMenemy.
Buttons: Dave Benson Phillips.
Fairy Godmother: Ruth Madoc.
Ga Ga: Bobbie Kent.
Gertie: Damian Hutchinson.
Baron Hardup: Richard Colson.
Prince Charming: Jamie-Ray Hartshorne.
Dandini: James Templeton.
Shetland Ponies: Mickey and Minnie.
Villagers: Sam Lathwood, Adam Morgan, Samantha Stanbridge, Lauren Siddall, Sade Hardwick, April Clarke.
Village Children from Academy of dance and Directions Arts Theatre.
Musicians: Martyn St James and Phil Johnson.

Director: Andrew Ryan.
Lighting: Dai Evans.
Choreographer: Ewan Jones.
Musicians: Martyn St James and Phil Johnson.

2013-12-08 23:28:15

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