Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

A New look at Cinders !

Cinderella: The Fairy Story by Sally Cookson and Adam Peck

Louche Theatre , Morlan Centre, Aberystwyth, , November-30-18
Cinderella: The Fairy Story by Sally Cookson and Adam Peck  by Louche Theatre While Iíve seen a few Cinderellaís over the years, Iíve never seen one quite like this.

Thereís a few reasons for that. The first is that this is pocket sized Cinderella. I counted a total of eleven actors, and the play ran for two halves of thirty minutes each. How do you get the whole story into that? You remove the extraneous, and do it quickly, thatís how.

Thereís a rather tender start, as the suffering figure of the father holds his infant daughter in his arms and mourns for his dead wife. A puppet of an infant Cinderella gambols about the stage, exploring the tree which is its central feature (in fact, with a few boxes, itís the entirety of the set). And thenÖwell the familiar characters appear and away we go. And interesting characters there are as well.

Youíve got Ella, our titular heroine. Youíve got the glowering, avaricious, battleaxe of her stepmother. Thereís a stepsister, with her motherís outlook if rather less of his brains. Thereís a surprisingly sympathetic step-brother, who becomes Ellaís confidant. Thereís a regally plain spoken Queen with a son to marry off, and lastly thereís the Prince - played here as an eccentric man, who meets the love of his life while birdwatching in the woods.

AndÖthereís the birds. Ellaís father introduces her to them as the play begins, and from then on the four actors playing hopping fluttering birds function as the playís chorus, play its extra roles, and inject it with the extra spark that makes all the difference.

I wonít bore you with the plot - although I will say that this version of the play keeps in some of the Brotherís Grimmís more gothic moments that later writers have elected to leave out. As to the production, itís a good play done well. When the energy and the pace are cracking along then itís great, and thatís most of the time. Thereís a riot of bright costumes, genuinely funny lines and hilarious moments, all of it charging around the stage like a thing demented. But at moments I felt that energy drop by just an iota, when I couldnít quite hear a line and so a joke fell flat. Then the moment passes, and weíre back in the playís crazy world. But if this show needs one thing, itís just a little more - more. Some of those big characters could be bigger, some of the energetic scenes could be faster. Of course, there are many more which a just fine as they are!

As a family Christmas show, this ticks all the boxes. Itís a familiar and energetic tale with a new spin, itís not too long, solidly put together and it trips along at a good pace. Itís bright, and colorful, and less saccharine than other versions weíve all seen over the years. Go along and see it, and be sure to take the kids.

Thereís even a fairytale happy ending.

Reviewed by: Alex John Gilbey + Photo.

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