AdultFestive 19/20LondonPantomimeReviewWest End

Cinderella – Trafalgar Studios, London

Writer: Jon Bradfield

Directors: Lawrence Bolton, Christopher D. Clegg

Reviewer: Miriam Sallon

It’s tricky to review something so bare-facedly created for fans of another show. If you are a lover of RuPaul, this is equivalent to the ultimate after-show special, but if you’ve been living under a rock, in a cave, with no access to popular culture for the last ten years, and you have no idea how to sashay away or lip-sync for your life, then you’re less likely to find TUCKSHOP’s Cinderella all that scintillating. Drag Race star Baga Chipz is joined by a coterie of queens to bring you a version of the classic tale slathered in sequins and smut.

The script barely holds together, and there are so many cues missed, after a while, it’s hard to know if they’re being hammed up for entertainment’s sake: characters leave the stage too early, arrive too late, forget their lines, their parts, the plot. But the drag performances are well-rehearsed, and that’s what we’re really here to see. Afropunk princess, Baby, gives a feeble crack at playing the oppressed eponymous orphan, but can that queen vogue! Sheila Simmonds, recording artiste & home shopping presenter, is an absolute tonic, teetering around, touting her Chateaux de Shittè and after-dinner laxative chocolates. She plays the godmother, but her magical abilities extend to ordering Cinders an Addison Lee (she’s got an account) and sneaking her through the back entrance to get to the ball- don’t worry, someone definitely made that joke.

Baga basically plays herself, shamelessly taking any opportunity to throw in a catch-phrase, or sing her theme song (“Baga Chipz is stunning, Baga Chipz is class, Baga Chipz is sexy, She takes it up the (shhh)”) which the whole audience obviously screams ecstatically along with.

Holly Stars, our host for the evening, and the play’s much-needed mother hen, sets the tone as Buttons, threatening to soil herself in nearly every scene, and fluffing the audience to heights of unprecedented panto participation. Sure, the set (Ellen Forbes) is made of cardboard boxes, no-one could possibly have read the script more than once before curtains, and the first song in this Christmas special is inexplicably about Halloween (the first of many shoe-horned performances.) But the brazen lack of polish or rehearsal aside, if you’re looking for an evening of sassy killer queens, outrageous outfits, and a Werther’s original lobbed at your head, this is the Christmas panto for you.

Runs on Sundays until: 12 January 2020 | Image: Contributed by Tuckshop

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