Cinderella, The Brunton,
**** 4 Stars
“Charming and Fun Production”
2019 sees Cinderella the godmother of all pantomimes return to the Musselburgh venue. The production is sold as “Traditional Pantomime for all ages” which makes the decision to move Cinderella into a circus theme an interesting one.
Writer and director John Binnie return’s after his excellent debut in last year’s Jack and the Beanstalk and delivers a production which has charm in abundance and works well within the physical constraints of the theatre. It also puts the local community and locations at its very heart.
The difficulty is, Cinderella is the godmother of pantos because its every little girl’s dream, a tale of once upon a time in a magical village when a gorgeous prince, a gold ticket, a fairy godmother makes defeating the wicked stepmother and ugly sisters a possibility! That childlike wonder and charm doesn’t transposition well to a circus theme. However, it remains nevertheless utterly charming and fun to watch.
Cinderella played with innocence and a light-hearted touch by Eilidh Weir spends her days sweeping the big top floors of the circus owned by her evil stepmother and ringmaster (the wonderfully bad Wendy Seager), who favours the ugly sister duo of Mince and Tatties (played brilliantly by Graham Crammond and Andrew Dyer respectively) as they plan to sell the circus and reap the money. Its circus clown Buttons (the always fun and charming Ross Donnachie) who shows cinders any love, but as he stumbles upon Prince Charlie ( the utterly gorgeous Lewis Lauder) and in what is normally a Prince and Dandini moment they swap places, allowing the rest of the story to unfold in traditional ciders style albeit in its new location. It even allows Estrid Barton’s Fairy Godmother to sprinkle a little magic especially in the inventive transformation scene.
This Cinderella is real family affair and its boosted by Musical Director Tommie Travers excellent musical choices, with pop songs sitting comfortably alongside the ballads. Its Travers delicate underscoring that adds something special and that would be further enhanced with a full live band, however Travers delivers well at the keyboard in the pit.
Robin Mitchell’s Set and Costume Design is spot on the money bringing to life the circus theme in a riot of colours and the costumes, of which there are many, bringing real character. This is further boosted by Ian Curtis and Craig Dixons first rate lighting design which adds even more colour and depth to the production.
Overall this is a charming and fun production but the change of location doesn’t work fully for it, as there are no circus speciality acts, jugglers or acrobats and it relies on character driven story to carry the show through, which would have been better delivered in a traditional telling of the story.
For all that, you can’t help but be won over by this production which will pack them in at the big top of the Brunton theatre.
The Brunton Theatre Presents “Jack and the Beanstalk”, Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, Run’s until Saturday 4th January 2020 Tickets from £14 go to www.thebrunton.co.uk/events