Review: CINDERELLA, Theatre Royal Stratford East

This heart-warming tale catches the zeitgeist of the moment

By: Nov. 28, 2022
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Review: CINDERELLA, Theatre Royal Stratford East

Review: CINDERELLA, Theatre Royal Stratford East Musician and lyricist Robert Hyman dedicated this adaptation of the classic tale, Cinderella, to the late and much-admired performer, Jo Melville. She once said, "there's nothing like this, that sheer euphoria that theatre, that panto can give" and yes, hats off to that.

Director Eva Sampson flips the classic tale of a girl's rags to riches by adding the magic of Cleopatra's ancient Egypt. The evil stepmother, Gigi Zahir is the new and improved, sassed-up Cleopatra. Alex Wadham is a riotously funny Julius Caesar. And Wesley Bozonga as Mark Anthony beguiles you as Prince Charming.

The legend is coming at you from a completely new perspective involving glittering lights, a merry fairy godmother and a couple of modern day, audacious step sisters. Cinderella is played as the moral heroine, energetically and big heartedly, by Gracie McGonagall. She writes and shares throughout 'the big list for building a better world,' which ultimately expressed the show's message; that love and kindness conquer all.

The Brixton Coliseum, rolling hills of Sidcup, Tiktokium and Snapchaticus are to name just a few of the laugh-out-loud, modern and ingenious language twists. Writer Leo Butler blends Cleopatra's ancient Egypt with the 21st century magnetically well. Mixed with slapstick comedy and dry, dirty humour that is clever enough to give both adults and children mighty bursts of laughter.

Out of North London's hustle to the aged but beautifully authentic Theatre Royal Stratford East. Set and costume designer; Charlotte Espiner transported us to Stratford East - Gypt; where a giant pharaoh's head in Cleopatra's Palace begins this modernised fairy tale and we are taken along for a ride with glitter and togas, kohl makeup and silicon dresses where each time a new scene begins, our eyes glisten.

Of course, we heard the traditional 'it's behind you' and group singalongs and an eccentric sphinx cat that interacts with the audience. All make you wince in your seat but you can't help but give you a big ounce of 'pharaoh - moans' to sing home to.

Choreographer Myles Brown adds in some spritely dance moves that get you swaying in your seat and Robert Hyman's music and lyrics are set to excite and make us giggle, but my goodness, is the content silly!

Previous owner of this well renowned theatre, Joan Littlewood; also known as 'the mother of modern theatre' made a name for this establishment by priding itself on a culturally and socially diverse community that tells stories that are current and representative of London. The cast and language in Cinderella is diverse and inclusive in every way it could possibly be.

This heart-warming tale catches the zeitgeist of the moment; it is full of fountains of laughs and feel good memories to take home. An early Christmas present to start the festive season. Cleopatcha - comin - atcha!

Cinderella is at Theatre Royal Stratford East until 7 January 2023

Photo Credit: The Other Richard