Cinderella (Hornchurch, Queen's Theatre)
Designer Mark Walters provides some sumptuous sets and costumes with a fine baroque false proscenium and drop curtain, against which the (initially an old biddy) Fairy Godmother (Karen Fisher-Pollard) gives us the back story with shadow puppets. Then we meet Buttons (Mark Stanford), who immediately gets the audience on his side and the not-quite-got-it-right inventor Baron Hardup (Stuart Organ).
The heroine is played by Natasha Moore, sweet-voiced and graceful. Which is more than you can say for her step-sisters, bean-pole Euthanasia (Tom Jude) and bean-tub Asphyxia (Simon Jessop). They’re a brace of horrors, very funny in most of their routines, though the cake-making scene didn’t quite work out. Dandini (Carlton eliminates the usual identity-swap with Prince Charming) is Callum Hughes.
I failed to warm to Niall Costigan as the Prince, who makes his entrance as a huntsman. The fox being pursued takes refuge with Cinderella, acquires a name (Lucy) and finally materialises as the Fairy Godmother. All the transformation scenes are very well handled and the audience loved the silver coach drawn by a unicorn which took off for the skies at the first act finale. The original music is by Carol Sloman who leads a three-piece band in the pit.