Writer: Luke Barnes
Director: Jimmy Fairhurst
Reviewer: Matt Forrest
With Panto’s a-plenty kicking around this time of year all jostling for your hard-earned cash it can all get a little repetitive: you sometimes need something little a different from the usual festive fare to get you into the Christmas spirit and production company Not Too Tame may have the solution.
The touring theatre company have brought their latest immersive and interactive production, Cinderella: A Wicked Mother of a Night Out! to The Welcome Inn, Salford (In Conjunction with the Lowry) for what is a unique, entertaining slant on this fairy-tale favourite.
Shifting the action to an authentic pub setting this modern-day reworking is a foul-mouthed, raucous, booze-fuelled romp; both a love letter and two-fingered salute to the panto genre.
all the classic Cinderella characters are given a twist: Cinderella (Gemma Barnett) is a good-natured, free-spirited, but downtrodden barmaid, Cinder’s Fairy Godmother is now a dress wearing karaoke-loving God-Father (Jack Brown), with the most radical change going to Buttons (Alex Griffin-Griffiths): no longer a loveable scamp providing mirth and merriment, no he’s a suicidal, dog with issues and a love of plastic legs. Ruling over them all is the pub’s land-lady and Cinderella’s wicked step-mum (Jessica Johnson) along with two daughters Simone and Garfunkel (Louise Haggerty and Naomi McDonald). The pub is turned upside down with the arrival of Prince Charming (Jack Condon), who is looking for his princess wearing an orthopaedic slipper. Will his arrival lead everyone to there “happy ever after”?
This is a fun night out from start to finish: the authentic pub setting is a great touch as you find yourself scanning the room to see who’s ‘in on it’ and who isn’t. The cast are superb throughout interacting with the audience: necking pints and poking fun at the crowd. All the traditional panto traits are here: musical numbers come in the form karaoke classics that include: a unique take on Bohemian Rhapsody and hilarious rendition of Bootylicious. In addition, there are the physical, slapstick elements that pantomimes are famed for thrown in for good measure.
There a few pacing issues with some of the set pieces out staying there welcome a touch, but the gags come thick and fast, so it isn’t too much of an issue. There are also a few neat plot twists in there too. Concluding with a huge cast/audience singalong of Fairy Tale of New York which sums up this production perfectly: plenty of attitude but packed full of Christmas cheer and feel-good lessons we all need reminding of from time to time.
Reviewed 18 December 2018 | Image: Contributed