Synopsis Of Cinderella
Everyone knows the story of Cinderella, but what about if the wicked Stepmother had magic at her fingertips, the Prince and Cinderella ran away together after the ball to a magical forest, and the Fairy Godmother had feelings for one of Cinderella’s stepsisters? Storyhouse presents a Christmas pantomime like no other with fun, laughter, and plenty of Christmas cheer!
Starring Mali O’Donnell as Cinderella, Melinda Orengo as the Fairy Godmother, Lewis Griffin as the Prince, Susannah Van Den Berg as the wicked Stepmother, John Holt-Roberts as the King, Tasha Dowd as Mo the Mouse, Jessica Jolleys as Step Sister Lulu, Sarah Workman as Step Sister Lena, Meg Narongchai as Mim the Mouse, and Robert Gathercole as DJ Ding Dong. The show runs from 1st December 2023 to 6th January 2024.
When the show began, I quickly realised that we were not watching a typical Cinderella tale. In this Storyhouse original production, Cinderella is friendly with her stepsisters and loves her gardening. Then, the Prince and Cinderella go on an adventure in Act 2 (courtesy of the Fairy Godmother). But she leaves behind the Prince’s shoe, though the Stepmother has magic powers. Though this sounds chaotic, the whole performance went together very nicely.
It was exciting to see a twist on the tale that doesn’t take away from the source material too much and other audience members seemed to think the same. However much people enjoyed themselves on the night I attended, the audience was very lacklustre in their “call and response” with the actors and reactions were slow. That is, until Mo the Mouse started handing out sweets and suddenly the place came alive!
One of my favourite additions to this production was the multi-rolling. Almost every actor played multiple characters and had very quick costume changes, but this didn’t confuse or complicate the show. It was also funny to see the creative changes in the script to allow for multi-rolling capabilities. It also added to the intimate and immersive atmosphere of the theatre.
We were also treated to some wonderful live music as most performers played instruments on stage as their characters. Sarah Workman played the drums while acting as Step Sister Lena, John Holt-Roberts played the guitar as the King, Jessica Jolleys played the saxophone as Step Sister Lulu, and so on. The skills of each performer blew me away. To perform with a musical instrument without missing a note, acting, and singing is a true gift. It was just a shame that the microphones kept cutting out at various times throughout the show. But this didn’t reduce the magic of the show.
I also cannot go without mentioning Tasha Dowd for her incredible performance. Tasha multi-rolled as various characters (mainly Mo the Mouse and Karen). Both portrayals were effortless. The comedic influences and key character traits of each character she played were wonderfully done. I was also amazed by her singing and musical talent. This also applies to all performers participating in the production. Indeed, I found myself looking for Tasha in every scene, which is key to the quality of her character. I hope to see her in many more productions at Storyhouse and across the North West in the future.
Summary Of Cinderella
In closing, this was a thoroughly joyous production. There’s something in here for everyone – pop-culture references aplenty, interactive staging, and of course, your typical panto flairs. If you’re looking for something a little different from the traditional Christmas pantomime, then Cinderella is certainly the show for you!