This isn¡¯t a panto, but a made-for-TV musical by the masters of the form. It starred Julie Andrews and when it was aired in 1957, some 100,000,000 watched ¨C 60% of the US population! Though it has been on stage before, outings are rare. I saw a lovely production at Bristol Old Vic almost exactly 8 years ago, but I¡¯m not sure it has been in London in the 30 years I¡¯ve lived here. So off to Turnham Green we go¡..
They haven¡¯t changed the age-old story, but it¡¯s stripped down to nine characters, with an excellent Helen Colby here doubling-up as the Stepmother and the Fairy Godmother, and an ensemble of two! The music isn¡¯t their best, but better than much (and certainly better than any panto version I¡¯ve seen) and its played really well here by a 5-piece band (which sounds a lot bigger). Christopher Hone¡¯s design is superb, working wonders with the tiny Tabard Theatre space in very inventive ways that themselves make you smile and Alex Young¡¯s direction is very sure-footed indeed.
Kirsty Mann and Vlach Ashton are excellent romantic leads and Brendan Matthew & Sarah Dearlove very good as the King & Queen. I loved the interpretation of Cinderella¡¯s sisters ¨C Kate Scott as a somewhat manic Joy and Lydia Jenkins with rather more ¡®attitude¡¯ as Grace. The prince¡¯s Steward Lionel was given a bit of a camp makeover by Josh Carter to good effect.
Given the time of year (and this was a matin¨¦e too), this somewhat sophisticated entertainment was played to rather too many young children I¡¯m afraid and the seat kicking, crisp & sweet eating and fidgeting rather wore me down. This is far too good for kids (and in my opinion certainly not suitable for under 7¡äs) and maybe an evening performance would have been better. That said, congratulations to the Tabard for quality alternative seasonal fare. - Gareth James
Whatsonstage.com - Discount London theatre tickets, theatre news and reviews, Theatre videos, Theatre discussion, National Theatre Listings. Covering London's West End, all of Theatreland and all UK theatre. The best
for London Theatre Ticket Discounts.