Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Look behind you... we're nearly there

"All the elements for a magical family pantomime" is the reviewers' concensus on Cinderella at Theatre Royal Bath. Packaged by UK Productions, this is a live show for a TV generation: flat-screen sets, celeb names, Strictly-style dance routines & X-factory song arrangements, and scripted with meta-televisual gags - some genuinely witty, though from response to Fairy Godmother Melanie Walter's omelette-obsession it's a while since anyone watched Gavin & Stacey.  Local references were popular with adults ~ Bath's poshness, parking problems, and proliferation of 'fairies' ~ with farts and bottom jokes for the children.  Funniest moments by far came unscripted: Jon Monie as Buttons is a master of impro and Ugly Sister David Ball's lapses were marvellous, especially when he corpsed after proffering a highly suggestive-looking false leg to Dandini for the slipper-trying-on sequence. Crazily flamboyant and absurdly costumed, the best drag act I've seen since San Francisco's Beach Blanket Babylon.
But Cinderella, of course, is more than a comedy, it's the best-loved rags-to-riches tale in the world, travelling from ancient Greece and reaching us today via Grimm brothers and Perrault. Dani Harmer as the quintessential 'persecuted heroine' is a cheery little thing who evokes no thoughts of actual abused children to spoil the fun ~ indeed Cinder's tale of woe is largely parody, as when as she sings 'I'm all alone' with the entire cast & crew assembled to sympathetically chorus 'except for us'...   Without its dark heart this is a different story from the magical myth that glimmered through the gloom of my postwar childhood, and the only acknowledgement to deprivation here is a gag about Big Issue sellers in the gallery.  But hey, it's that look-behind-you time of year, and the three little girls in princess dresses seated next to me were entranced from first glimpse of the glittery pink safety curtain to the happy-ever-after curtain-calls. Oh and there are real white horses to pull the coach. Well, trained ponies anyway.  Showing till January 12th.

Time now for a seasonal break from public to personal activities with family & friends, possibly till next year. Thank you for reading, go well and, as wonderful Dave Allan used to say, may your god go with you.

No comments: