Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre's Christmas show Cinderella is a real cracker
This is the Stephen Joseph Theatre’s annual seasonal show – when the audience has come to expect the unexpected no matter how familiar the title may be and thoroughly delight in its uniqueness.
There are glass slippers, a breath-taking gown, a kind young woman, a prince, ugly sisters, a wicked stepmother, a coach, pumpkin, a fairy godmother, mice and a ball – but this is Nick Lane and his barmy army and although the ingredients are as familiar as the recipe for Christmas pudding when you stir up this lot you get a crazy concocti on.
The plot – a fairy godmother is trying to earn promotion from tooth fairy to fully-fledged granter of wishes – and tells her tale of how she helped Cinderella find her mother lost on an expedition to the Land Beyond Beyond.
The audience then has to decide whether she deserves a step up the career ladder or remain putting 5ps under pillows forever. Really? Yes, really.
Any more detailed description would spoil the bonkers, brilliant, hilarious, ridiculous ride under the control of director Gemma Fairlie who steers the rudderless ship through silly seas.
The five actors bringing the craziness to the stage are Eve De Leon Allen, David Fallon, Lucy Keirl, Roger Parkins and Sarah Pearman.
All but De Leon Allen multi-task – they play Cinderella as a feisty, independent little madam. Lucy Keirl is the adorable fairy trying a little too hard to please and also appears as a queen and herald.
Sarah Pearman plays chief fairy but it is in the role of wicked step mum – a mix of all the landladies from EastEnders and the Queen Vic – that she truly revels as she encourages the audience to hiss and boo her every evil trick.
David Fallon and Roger Parkins play a prince, fairies, a mouse, a pumpkin and a horse with various degrees of relish and cutting sarcasm.
As expected from the Stephen Joseph Theatre’s Christmas show bespoke songs and music come from Simon Slater – he loves a show tune and those for Cinderella would grace any West End musical.
They have swing, they have swagger and are instantly singable – they are always a highlight for me. This year, he gives our famous Boyes store its own song – that's genius.
There is a nod to Strictly Come Dancing and the Slipper and the Rose – a big screen version of Cinderella starring Gemma Craven and Richard Chamberlain and directed by Bryan Forbes.
Cinderella is not a traditional pantomime – but there is plenty of opportunity for audience participation.
You are invited to hiss, boo, shout ‘she’s behind you’ and sing S Club 7’s Reach for the Stars – which encompasses the show’s message – which is stand up for yourself and follow your heart.
Let’s not get too serious. The show has razzmatazz, it shimmers, it shines, it has snow, amazing costumes, its funny, it’s fun, its a blast, it’s bonkers and crazy. It’s simply Christmas crackers.
Have a ball with Cinders and her family – expect happily ever after and a warm, fuzzy glow. Just don’t expect it to be the fairy tale you have read in a book or given the Disney treatment.
Cinderella runs at the Stephen Joseph Theatre from now until Saturday December 31. Tickets for Cinderella, priced for £10, are available from the box office on 01723 370541 and online at www.sjt.uk.com