Saturday, 15 December 2012

Midnight's Pumpkin - review

Written by: Anna Jones (@Now4567Anna)

Battersea Arts Centre, London
*****

If you’re looking for where the party’s at this Christmas, look no further. It’s actually at the Battersea Arts Centre. Kneehigh, the Cornish based theatre company du jour who brought us productions such as The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The Red Shoes and A Matter of Life and Death have turned out a proper cracker full of joy and humour this Christmas. With excellent songs accompanied live throughout (music by Stu Barker, Ian Ross & Stuart McLoughlin) and the chance to get on down in the two intervals, surely no other show in London will see you exuberantly doing the “YMCA” as you conga out of the Grand Hall.

Photo: Steve Tanner
It’s the story of Cinderella, but in this version of events Cinderella is called Midnight (Audrey Brisson, a former Cirque du Soleil performer) and her Fairy Godmother is a charming pumpkin (role shared by Mike Shepard and Giles King). He heads up a team of adorable but forgetful mice (played by members of the company) who deliver Midnight safely to the ball in her glamorous chariot of a garden shed, with fairy lights. Kneehigh pitch the tongue in cheek pantoesque humour perfectly; the mixed aged audience, which ranges from toddlers to teenagers to senior citizens, roar with laughter in all the right moments and get into the swing of things very quickly. Brisson as expected from her Cirque background, is a beautiful dancer; watch out for her aerial dance.

Prince Charming (Philip Brodie) induces belly laughs in his role as the posh toff romantic lead, looking for love and someone to share his life with. Until now it’s just been pussy, the remote controlled cat. His solo Should I Take the Floor? is one of the comic highlights. Ugly sisters (Patrycja Kujawska & Kirsty Woodward) and panto-dame Stepmother (James Traherne) are suitably hideously mean to poor Midnight, and her down-trodden father (Stu Godwin) has a lovely solo in which he attempts to assert his control over his wayward family, but concedes that if anybody needs him, he’ll be out the back.

Photo: Steve Tanner
The greatest strength of this show is the tight ensemble work from the cast who devised the show together and as with most Kneehigh productions, we feel that we are watching a production crafted with love and great affection for the audience. For riotous fun and something of a much higher class than the local pantomime, go and see this wonderful production. 

This production runs until 13 January 2013. 
@Battersea_Arts @WeAreKneehigh #MidnightsPumpkin 

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1 comment:

Adam Jay said...

Completely concur, this performance was oustanding; an amazing night out for all the family.

100% agree when said it's in such a higher class than panto - in my opinion, all panto's should be like this one :)

A must see!