BWW Review: CINDERFELLA, Tron Theatre, Glasgow
Cinderella lost her mother at a young age and her father has recently passed away after marrying her very unpleasant stepmother. Cinderella runs the family vintage store and is determined to do her parents proud but business is not going well. When Cinderella hears that Princess Charmaine is hosting a Christmas Eve ball she sees this as an opportunity to get to know "Scotland's answer to Beyonce" and ask for her help but there's just one problem- the ball is for men only!
It's no secret that the Tron panto is the highlight of my festive season and a great deal of that is down to the cast. Writer and director Johnny McKnight alternates starring in the two pantomimes he writes in Glasgow and Stirling and this is his year at the Macrobert Arts Centre. I won't pretend I wasn't heartbroken to learn that Tron regular Darren Brownlie is also elsewhere this year but I have a lot of faith in McKnight and was delighted to find out that he was using this as an opportunity to have an all-female cast for Cinderfella.
Sally Reid plays Cinderella and Jo Freer is her trusty sheep sidekick- Muttons. The traditional ugly sisters are replaced by Harry and Larry (Hannah Jarrett-Scott and Daisy Ann Fletcher) Cinderella's stepbrothers who don muscle suits and spend their entire time onstage flexing and talking about how manly they are.
The Tron panto uses original music (written by Ross Brown) and Cinderfella's opening number is reminiscent of West-End hit musical Six. The lyrics are brilliant and I'm open to bribing somebody to help me get my hands on some sort of cast recording.
McKnight's script is excellent and features endless witty quips and regional/topical references. A particular highlight was a scene where other Disney princesses come out to tell Cinderella that finding a man wasn't actually their happily ever after.
Lauren Ellis-Steele plays both the wicked stepmother and the glamorous Princess Charmaine and there are a couple of references in the script to the doubling up of roles. Ellis-Steele takes on two very different characters with ease and her vocals are fantastic.
A lot of what makes Cinderfella so truly special is best left as a surprise. This show is incredibly progressive but never preachy and has all the makings of a big glitzy musical. I left the theatre absolutely beaming and filled to the brim with festive joy.
Cinderfella is at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow until 5 January 2020.