King’s Theatre Edinburgh (venue)
02 December 2017 (released)
Yes, it’s that time of year again (and goodness me, just where has this year gone!) when pantos up and down the country delight audiences young and old. Here in bonnie Edinburgh it’s CINDERELLA, the fairy godmother of all pantomimes, which promises to top last year’s phenomenal success of Jack And The Beanstalk… No mean feat by any stretch of the imagination but the almighty trio that is Allan Stewart (as Fairy May), Andy Gray (as Buttons) and Grant Stott (as Baroness Hibernia Hardup) can be trusted to achieve just that! As an avid Hibs supporter it will come as no surprise that Stott has a field day playing Cinderella’s evil stepmother Baroness Hibernia Hardup (fresh from Easter Road) who, together with her wicked daughters Nicola (Maureen Carr) and Ruth (Clare Gray) take great delight in making the life of pretty but unfortunate Cinderella (Gillian Parkhouse) a daily misery. Thank goodness for Cinderella’s seemingly only friend Buttons and the magical Fairy May who watches over Cinderella’s fate with eagle eyes and a huge dose of humour.
Everyone knows the story of Cinderella and yes, there is a Prince Charming (James Darch) desperately looking for a suitable princess which he hopes to find with the help of his loyal valet Dandini (Andrew Keay). And so it is that one evening Cinderella tries to escape the clutches of Nicola and Ruth (and who wouldn’t want to escape their clutches) and decides to take a trip into nearby woodland where she meets Prince Charming – only that he poses as Dandini while the valet pretends to be the Prince searching for a suitable bride for his master. Sounds confusing? Not really and if you’re a fan of Hollywood screwball comedies you know there will be a happy ending to the story. But before the big event unfolds the audience is treated to some mighty fun and gags galore, such as Hibernia, Fairy May and Buttons taking the p*** out of Amazon’s ‘personal assistant’ Alexa, or Fairy May performing an old Elvis song (Buttons: “Well, it can hardly be a new Elvis song!”) – the latter being reduced to the unthankful role of backing singer… with hilarious consequences. There’s a stab at the looming real-life royal wedding (Fairy May: “An actress and a prince… it can never happen”) or Hibernia scheming left, right and centre in order to get one of her two daughters married off to the prince. There’s even a horse drawn pumpkin-coach which flies through the air, the undisputed highlight of this fantastic show.
Of course there are also brilliant dance interludes (courtesy of the Edinburgh Dance Academy) and the chemistry between Stewart, Gray and Stott is a delight to watch. The comic timing between those three is effortless, resulting in much laughter as the trio constantly take riotous stabs at each other – like the DVD sleeve-sequence when Hibernia loses Hardup Hall and her status. The ensuing ditty performed by Hibernia, Fairy May, Buttons and Dandini is rollicking good fun and will have the audience in stitches.
It goes without saying that the costumes are nothing less than a visual feast – ranging from sumptuous to plain barmy – watch out for Nicola and Ruth’s hilarious outfits and wigs. Hibernia with ‘her’ beehive hair-do and darkly gothic attire is just as bonkers. The singing, the dancing and the performers are simply tops and it’s all so seamless!
A fabulous festive treat which never lets up for even one second, can’t wait for December 2018 when Allan Stewart, Andy Gray and Grant Stott will return to the King’s Theatre for BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.
CINDERELLA runs at the King’s Theatre Edinburgh till 21st January 2018
(Photo by Douglas Robertson)