WHO would have thought that a mere 317 years after The Brothers Grimm published it, the fairytale story of Cinderella would still be entertaining audiences, albeit in panto form.
But yes it is, and Looking Glass Theatre (LGT), a local professional theatre company, has brought it to life in 2014. Based on the Royal Theatre script from 1983, director James Smith and his cast of just four have been touring the traditional family pantomime with something a little extra.
Yes, there is a stage with comedic characters and garish (in the best way) costumes, but LGT takes their audience’s experience a little further. With a full lighting rig and masses of sound equipment, viewers were treated to a full show with live sound and lighting cues, coordinated by James.
Although priding itself as an old-school panto with audience participation and the obligatory back-and-forth ‘oh no he isn’t!’, LGT brought something new to the mix by incorporating puppetry, local puns and references and exquisite hand-painted canvas backdrops; changed discreetly during the performance by the cast and really do put this show head and shoulders above others.
When it comes down to the cast, with only four actors and eight characters to be played, quick costumes changes were on the cards, but these were very successfully pulled off, especially since some were quite interesting costumes!
Singalongs and audience participation was only part of the recipe to great performance energy in Cinderella, as the actors brought each character to life.
From the most dashing Prince Charming, played by recent University of Northampton acting graduate Marvin Freeman, to the multi-role king Tim Cole with impressive shifts between the evil stepmother and Cinderella’s confidante, the show keeps the audience awake, that’s for sure!
Cinderella’s gentile nature is played well by Lucy Ellis-Brown, teasing out the rather moral lesson that people should be treated as the treat others, and the comedy factor in the form of ugly sister Eloise is reserved for David Heathcote, guaranteed laughs to follow.
In short, Looking Glass Theatre have not only managed to keep a classic performance alive with just a few small modern additions, they have kept it affordable and something ideal for kid and parents alike. What’s more, they have something very unique in what they offer, for they turn the local village hall into a full theatre experience. ‘Oh yes it is’ something you should go and see!
Performances run until January 9, tickets are available from http://www.lookingglasstheatre.co.uk or catch up at lgtheatre on Facebook.