This musical by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II was originally written for television in 1955 and later adapted for the stage. I wasn’t very familiar with the musical before I saw it, I had only heard a couple of the songs before. The story, of course, is based on the well-known fairy tale Cinderella. The musical sticks very closely to the original and doesn’t really add anything new, but then, why should it.
Kirsty Mann is a simply charming Cinderella with a lovely voice. I thought she was just perfect for the part. Vlach Ashton as the dashingly handsome Prince Christopher was equally great, his voice easily filled the theatre. Their duets were a joy to watch (and listen to)!
Lydia Jenkins and Kate Scott as Cinderella’s (misleadingly named) stepsisters Grace and Joy are hilarious. Their facial expressions are wonderful.
Helen Colby plays both the Stepmother and the Fairy Godmother and is great as both, though I did prefer her as the latter. Her Fairy Godmother is quite unique and not really how you’d imagine her to be, which I really liked.
Josh Carter as the Prince’s stewart is quite camp at times, but never over the top, and there are some especially great moments between him and Cinderella’s Stepmother at the ball.
I really enjoyed Sarah Dearlove and Brendan Matthew as Queen Constantina and King Maximillian. They made a sometimes very funny, but always endearing royal couple and I loved their duet “Boys and Girls Like You and Me”.
Paul Dyke and Louise Gookey complete the cast and play various ensemble parts.
I thought this production used the limited space very well and I liked the staging a lot. I often complain about the sound levels, but (for the first time, I think) I found it pretty much perfect, I could hear and understand everything just fine.
Cinderella is simply a great piece of musical theatre, full of Rodgers’ sweeping melodies. The best proof of how good it is, for me, was the two-year old girl sitting in front of me, who was completely enthralled (and perfectly behaved) all the way through. So it really appeals to and is suitable for all ages. It’s such a simple story, but it’s got so much heart and just put a smile on my face. It’s perfect for a Christmas show and really puts you into a Christmassy mood. With this production, the Christmas season has definitely started now.
Cinderella runs at the Tabard Theatre (Chiswick) until the 8th January 2012. Tickets can be booked on their website. I’d really recommend this production to everyone, it’s the perfect Christmas entertainment for the whole family!