BWW Review: CINDERELLA, The VAULTS
Not Too Tame's Christmas Panto arrives underneath Waterloo station after its celebrated UK Tour earlier this year. A modern-day take on the classic fairytale - set in a pub - Luke Barnes' story is a hoot from start to finish. The moment you step into the space it's full of charisma and spark. People sing at the karaoke booth, the bar is popping with punters and everyone seems to be having fun already.
No words of the 'play' have been spoken, but the performance has certainly started. You're immediately at ease and ready for a great night out. The show has everything you want from a pantomime. There's audience interaction and lots of high energy, over the top - characterisation. We laugh, boo, hiss, cheer and sing along to the tunes that are sung.
The text is quite cheeky and at times provocative. This is definitely an adult-themed panto, but the kids in the audience seemed to have a lot of fun - even if they did get an early education on some X-rated themes. Barnes' text is on the nose and very funny. The ensemble's comic timing is on point and each joke lands to the correct beat.
Jen McGinley's design makes you fell like you're in a traditional working class boozer. Even the slot machine is broken - typical! The audience are invited to head to the loo or the bar at any point during Jimmy Fairhurst's production, which dramatically works really well. Alongside these punters, the bar staff - who are hired by The VAULTS - provide the perfect supporting characters to the action.
Every member of the cast is superb and each gives something very different. We have Patrick Knowles providing great animal physicality as the scruffy pooch Buttons. Jack Condon is a smarmy, misogynistic, all about the sex Prince Charming. We love to hate him. Jimmy Fairhust dons a sparkly short dress and Dr. Martens, proving you can be anyone you want. And Lizzie Hopley's wicked stepmother character is every bit the villain you crave.
I wish every pantomime could be like this. It feels essential to the festival holiday. Book quick to have an unforgettable night.
Photo: Not Too Tame