Cinderella at the Perth Theatre brings some much needed laughs and highlights the importance of songs, silliness and festive cheer.
Directed by Barrie Hunter, the cast expertly cavort through all the old favourite pantomime moments while blending the camp nostalgia with hearty helpings of tongue in cheek local humour, brilliant musical performances and beautiful costuming and staging. This show embodies the fun and light-hearted escapism that pantos should provide and leaves you singing, dancing and smiling.
With plenty of tongue in cheek references to nights out in Perthshire, Tay Otters, and St Johnstone FC, the show has a real sense of homegrown camaraderie. It ensures that the older audience are included in the laughs, while also throwing lots of slapstick and crude humour in for the younger members of the audience.
Simply put, the cast are excellent. Hunter and Ewan Somers deliver wonderful comedic performances as the Ugly Stepsisters. Armed with innuendos, puns, and props, they consistently bring huge laughs for all ages throughout the entire show. Their energy and commitment to the roles is refreshing and ensures that the show stays raucously entertaining, and provide a real party atmosphere.
Betty Valencia is brilliant as Cinderella, particularly her performance of The Climb which shows off her impressive singing voice and emotional range. She’s just as captivating in her more comedic, slapstick moments though, and brings heart and warmth to the character.
Helen Logan as the Evil Stepmother and Lewis Winter Petrie as Buttons also deliver strong, charismatic performances, perfectly weaving humour and personality into every moment on stage. Their singing in particular is impressive and their mastery of multiple pop songs is admirable.
The dancing and singing are excellently choreographed and performed, with new songs like Ed Sheeran’s Bad Habits and old favourites from Hairspray rewritten with plot-relevant lyrics managing to be entertaining and genuinely well-executed. The chorus and main cast all complete complicated dance numbers perfectly without losing any of the wit or charm of the show.
With a plot rewritten without romance and with a focus on friendship, family and fair workplaces, the show feels fresh and new, relevant for a younger audience while still managing to maintain the nostalgic glee of pantomimes past. The feminist message is subtle but clear and highly effective, bringing the story successfully into the 21st century.
Perth Theatre’s Cinderella is a hilarious comic romp that transcends the confines and limitations of classic pantomimes with excellent singing and dancing and a genuinely heartfelt atmosphere.