PUBLISHED: 17:10 22 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:26 24 August 2010
by Roxanne Blakelock If you are fed up with the annual Christmas pantomime and looking for an original family show, this production of Cinderella offers a refreshing look at the well-known fairytale. More brutal and complex than the Disn
by Roxanne Blakelock
If you are fed up with the annual Christmas pantomime and looking for an original family show, this production of Cinderella offers a refreshing look at the well-known fairytale.
More brutal and complex than the Disney version where the protagonist is all sweetness and light, despite her lot, in this play, Cinderella is still as good natured but the cruelty she endures changes her demeanour.
Although the writers Melly Still and Ben Power draw on the darker Brothers Grimm version, this is a show for children and there is essentially still a happy ending.
There are gory moments when the stepmother and stepsisters' eyes are gouged out by Cinderella's bird friends - the snow pigeons, who feature throughout.
There are other comic, bloody moments when the stepsisters are ordered by their mother to cut off parts of their feet to try and fit into the slipper.
During the interval the audience can go out into the foyer and be part of one of Cinderella's balls, with music composed and performed by Terje Isungset. Cinderella even appears and mysteriously disappears in costume during the break.
Isungset is on stage the whole time playing various unusual instruments, made out of natural materials such as ice and rams' horns.
There is wonderful, energetic acting from the actress who plays Cinderella, Elizabeth Chan. Tim McMullan has a memorable voice as the tragic character of Cinderella's demoralised, spineless father, who allows himself to be bullied by his new family, leaving Cinderella to fall by the wayside. But in a touching moment near the end, he suddenly realizes, with heavy sadness, his betrayal of his daughter and leads the prince in his last attempt to find Cinderella to the shed where she is locked up.
This is a beautiful, funny and poetic adaptation which offers a memorable experience for both adults and children.
Cinderella until January 3 at Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, Lyric Square, King St, London W6 0QL. Box office: 0871 22 117 29