Theatre Review: Cinderella, Epstein Theatre, Liverpool starring Sammy Winward & Crissy Rock

Image Source: David Munn Photography

Cinderella

Format: Pantomime
Genre: Comedy
Writers: Jane Joseph (Adapted By Si Foster & Ben Englen)
Producers: Chantelle Nolan, Jane Joseph & Bill Elms (Associate Producer For Regal Entertainments Ltd)
Directors: Chantelle Nolan & Andrew Geater (Assistant Director)
Cast: Sammy Winward, Crissy Rock, Sarah White, Lewis Devine, Warren Donnelly, Andrew Geater & Samantha Palin
Review Date: December 9 2019
Performances: December 6 2019-January 5 2020
Location: Epstein Theatre, Liverpool
Duration: 140 minutes (including interval)
Age Rating: 3+

“You shall go to the ball!” And we certainly did at the Epstein Theatre‘s spectacular Christmas pantomime, Cinderella! With an outstanding cast, a beyond-brilliant script and unique special effects, what more could you possibly want for your festive family night out at the theatre?

Synopsis

The classic tale begins with the magical Fairy Godmother (Samantha Palin) setting the scene and telling of how the beautiful Cinderella (Sammy Winward) lives a miserable and lonely life, cooking and cleaning and constantly slaving over her two ugly stepsisters (Crissy Rock and Sarah White). The story unfolds as each character is introduced.

Cinderella dreams of meeting a handsome prince, falling in love and living a life of freedom from her evil sisters, but this seems ridiculously wishful to Cinderella: how could something so wonderful ever happen to a dusty kitchen maid?

Buttons (Lewis Devine) is the perfect pal to Cinderella, as he’s always willing to help with her chores, never letting her ugly stepsisters get away without an earful, and always brightening her day with a joke or two. However, there’s one thing that isn’t so perfect about their friendship: Buttons loves Cinderella, and he wants to be her dashing ‘Prince’, the one to sweep Cinderella off her feet so she would never have to sweep again!

Cinderella’s stepsisters have the ugliest of hearts “with faces to match”, and are ever-so vile to the sweet and lovely Cinderella. After Cinderella has a rather bold encounter with a man who she doesn’t realise is the Prince (Andrew Geater), he declares a royal ball that night, hoping that he will meet with this beautiful, mysterious girl once again. When her stepsisters receive four invites to the ball, they not only keep it a secret from Cinderella, but when she finally gets the invite (thanks to her trusty friend Buttons), they watch her weep as they make her tear it into tiny pieces.

Little does Cinderella know that, with just a twinkle of help from her Fairy Godmother, anything is possible, and she would indeed have her enchanting happily-ever-after, when all is booed and hissed, and most importantly, wished!

Analysis

This fun-filled, hilarious production of Cinderella could not have had a better cast! There are many extremely impressive aspects of this production, one of which being the exceptional vocals of The Fairy Godmother. Jaws were dropped as The Fairy Godmother filled the theatre with a stunning voice, and Cinderella and Prince Charming’s rendition of I Need A Hero was particularly brilliant. The vocals throughout were faultless!

The choreography was dazzling, from the main cast and senior dancers, to the heart-melting children who performed beautifully at the front of the stage. The all age cast created an almost homely feel and a great sense of family. The energetic dance routines almost force you to have a boogie in your seat, along with the comedy genius song choices and altered lyrics (including the hits It Takes Two, One Night Only and I Want You Back). You can’t help but sing along! The stepsisters’ rendition of Sweet But Psycho, accompanied by their frightfully funny expressions and choreography, had the audience howling with laughter. Even the costumes were impressive; the whole cast looked radiant down to every last performer. Both the Fairy Godmother’s dress and Cinderella’s glamorous ball gown got fantastic reactions from the audience; the whole of the main cast looked as though they had walked straight out of the classic fairytale storybook.

In every Cinderella pantomime, we expect the character of Buttons to take a cheeky yet endearing role, one which the audience can really engage with, but this performance of Buttons was first-class and simply exceptional. The characterisation was exuberant with energy and his interaction with the audience was fantastically hilarious. There were a couple of close-to-the-bone adult references, which are sure to fly right over children’s heads, directly hitting the parents who are more than likely to appreciate this subtle risqué humour.

You are to expect a few booms, flashes and splashes at a pantomime, but these special effects go beyond expectations with a three-dimensional feature that was an absolute hit with the children, and even the adults!

Summary

Scousers of all ages are in for a “proper boss” night with this brutally hilarious script and fantastic delivery from the whole cast. Cinderella at the Epstein Theatre is a good old-fashioned, classic panto with brilliantly clever, modern extras. Without a doubt, this is a “must-see” pantomime for all the family!

Notes

Target Audience: Ages 5-12
Content: 1/5 – Some Mature References
Recommendation: Yes
Overall Rating: 9/10 – Outstanding

Cinderella runs at the Epstein Theatre until Sunday January 5 2020. To buy tickets, click here or call 0844 888 4411.