Monday, 31 December 2012

Cinderella - review

Written by: Peeny (@AdamPeeny)

Where's Peen been?
Leicester Square Theatre, London
Was Peen keen?

Not quite the anti-panto it claims to be, this production tells the darker tale of the girl whom the show is named after. Written and spoken in poetry, lacking gusto in most parts and us being cramped in a room made comparable to lower-class living conditions in the Middle Ages, you’d be forgiven for doubting this from the get-go.

Photo: Ben Hare
It’s not a happy version of the story, and there is a lot of over-compensating for the thought that some audience members might not know the famous tale, but the cast does a reasonable job of trawling through a dismal and drab-like script. Andrew Venning as the Narrator/Crows gives a commendable performance and brings some humour at the right moments, and helps to move the story along – often the latter happens too much, as a lot of events are described as opposed to shown leaving the audience with very little to watch, but much to become bored of. Claire Sharpe plays both Ugly Sisters as a schizophrenic duo, which is a nice idea for the first five minutes; it grows far too tiresome far too quickly, and one grotesque character to hate would have been plenty, and would have allowed for great character development for Sharpe as a great performer. As it stands, she has two well-carved characters with slick changes from one to the other on a regular, predictable and somewhat monotonous rotation. 

Photo: Ben Hare
It’s a shame, then, that the duo at the forefront don’t come close to the same standard. The Prince (Stephen Papaioannou) is irritatingly over-dramatic and Cinderella (Jennifer Johnson) plain, boring and so emotionless she becomes worthy of the Oxford English dictionary definition. Though, Papaioannou as the Father gives quite a moving performance that touches us with the same force that you’d pat a child on the head.

Blind Tiger Theatre Company makes an effort to blend action and music and here, it’s truly appreciated. The live music backdrop is beautiful; the instruments on stage are a welcome touch and the cast plays them expertly, too. Interaction with audience goes beyond you being forced to pretty much sit on your neighbour’s knee because the cast make an effort to acknowledge us too (panto style). Venning really shines in his bitterness and interaction as an actor with fellow actors (panto style). From the very first syllable of the very first word, the fourth wall is broken (panto style), so perhaps we misread what the company claims this production aims to be, and in fact their intention is to make the audience anti-panto: if so, bravo. 

This production has now closed. 
@LSQTheatre @BlindTigerTC

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