Dancing, singing and comedy combine to form a fun-filled Christmas retelling of the Cinderella story. Kneehigh Theatre are in familiar territory with this production; they have an excellent reputation for the adaptation of myths and fairy tales, and rework Cinderella in a distinctly modern style.
Cinderella- renamed Midnight- seems to be channelling Ugly Betty whilst the Ugly Sisters bring a certain TOWIE flavour to their parts, and dare we draw further television comparisons in saying that Prince Charming is a parody of the gents found in Made in Chelsea. This vibrant clash of characters provides much entertainment for the audience, as does the playful innuendo of the running ‘pussy’ joke and the extremely self-aware dance moves thrown out by all of the cast. Indeed, the enormous sense of fun that the cast seem to be having on stage is what makes all the audience participation so effective- getting up and dancing at the theatre has never seemed so natural.
With its family-friendly structure this production includes two intervals, not only allowing little bladders to be relieved but also providing an opportunity for the whole audience to get dressed up so they can be guests at Prince Charming’s ball, too. Stu Goodwin who plays Midnight’s father and the Prince’s butler must be commended for the energy with which he entices audience members out of their seats and onto the dance floor. If you’re quick, you’ll learn the dance steps to the show’s final song and, if you’re in high Christmas spirits, the dancing and music continues after the show as well.
The only point of criticism about this production is that its focus on entertainment seems to have overpowered the usual artistry and flair that Kneehigh brings to its adaptations. Whilst the cast were delightful to watch, the concept of this Cinderella adaptation didn’t stretch the audience’s imagination. In fact, if you look beyond the parody inherent in the comedy then the story seems a little thin. For example, would the emotionally sensitive Midnight really fall in love with the shallow Prince Charming? All in all, this production will guarantee a lot of laughs and much pantomimic revelry, but it isn’t up to Kneehigh’s normal high standards.