Last Updated on November 25, 2019 by Lucy Foxell
A thoroughly modern Pantomine – Cinderella
The Lyric Hammersmith has been keeping up the festive tradition for the past 11 years now, arguably producing one of London’s edgiest pantomimes. Last year’s winning team, director Tinuke Craig and writer Jude Christian return with their bang up to date take on the age-old fairy tale Cinderella that is transported to Hammersmith 2019.
The production boasts a strong cast with some fabulous singing voices, many with a good foothold in musical theatre, they are joined by a vibrant ensemble of young performers -Jon Alderson, Bradley Bryant, Melanie Joyce-Ashurst, Jessica Manu, Carla Reid, and Rachel Shobande.
Timmika Ramsay makes her panto debut playing a thoroughly modern Cinders who has a beltingly good voice into the bargain. Cinders dreams of becoming a scientist and has a keen interest in the constellations – look up you’ll see the stage is lit up with an array of stars. Her passions are shared by Bob the Prince, amusingly portrayed by Gabriel Fleary who is struggling with his Royal role and is full of insecurities, like some other Princes we know. In his attempt to make friends outside the palace walls he tells us “I have a gift for making friends with commoners”.
The dame comes in the fine form of the talented Rhys Taylor as the fabulous Fairy Fredbare who is both feisty and funny and has pockets full of puns. Fredbare wears some glorious wigs and suitably flamboyant frocks, in her witty opening scene, she tells a series of rhyming gags talking in tube station names. Her mission, of course, is helping the downtrodden Cinderella, cue a song “I’ll Be There for You”.
Shobna Gulati makes an ‘ab fab’ Madame Meanie with her alligator sidekick and two madcap daughters – Popsy (a sassy Lauren Samuels) and Topsy (a superbly brash Mairi Barclay). The loveable Buttons is portrayed with a great deal of oomph by Jodie Jacobs.
So, in this modern-day Cinders set on of the streets of Hammersmith thrills arise in unexpected places, a dab and mop rap, a slime fest in the showers and a rocket to the ball, it’s full of street slang, pop songs, an on-the-moment Pizza Express in Woking gag together with the obligatory Brexit jokes.
The ball is “a right Royal knees up”, complete with slot machines and emojis, and a fantastic light show, everyone dances and shimmies the night away. Unfortunately Bob the Prince has lost his glasses and is rendered virtually blind so love is found in a meeting of minds and shared interests, but Cinders is no walkover, thankfully she’s bright and ballsy. But love comes in twos and another perfect match is made as sister Popsy sees the error of her ways after falling for the kindly Buttons.
And as in all fairy tales, all ends well in Hammersmith. After a night on the town and a houseful of sore heads, the Prince finds his love, as does Buttons.
Cue – sing-song “Glory Glory Hammersmith”.
In fact, there’s plenty of participatory fun, sweets fly, audience members take a turn, everyone joins in the Mexican waves, and ‘it’s behind you’ comes in the form of drone… very now!
The Lyric has got it right again, Cinderella is slick and spiked full of festive fun West London style, a sure-fire way of enjoying the Christmas season for all the family.
Lyric Theatre Hammersmith,
London W6 0QL
Phone: 020 8741 6850
Cinderella will run until 29 December.
Looking for somewhere to eat in the area? We love Potli – a stylish Indian restaurant with streetfood style dishes and more. Or how about veggie food at the world-famous Gate restaurant. We also recommend the Old Ship, a charming, traditional gastropub with stunning views over the Thames.