Once again, the Lyric Hammersmith clashes traditional with contemporary this Christmas, providing tons of festive fun for all the family.
Having seen the Lyric’s brilliant production of Aladdin last year, I wasn’t surprised to find myself laughing until my stomach ached during this year’s Cinderella. Co-writers John Horwood and Morgan Lloyd Malcolm did not fail to please the entire room, providing songs and sweets for the children, some cheeky innuendos for the adults and lots of attention for unfortunate audience member, Steve, from the ugly sisters, Munt and Ugger.
While the basic plotline maintained everything we were told as children, it was fresh and exciting to experience some very different subplots and dramatically altered characters. Panto favourite, Buttons, played by familiar face Steven Webb (Wishy-Washy from Aladdin) is just as cheeky as he was last year with his ‘totes lols’ jokes and downright hilarious persona while William Ellis is charming as er… Prince Charming. Both men boasted undeniable vocal talent but yet again, it was Sophia Nomvete as the Fairy Godmother and Dandini that took the audience’s breath away with her unbelievable singing.
However it was the undeniably adorable Julie Atherton that stole the show for me as Cinderella. Her quirky attitude and clumsy nature made her endearing rather than annoying and her rendition of Celine Dion’s All By Myself rendered everyone speechless. Forgive me for being repetitive, but no matter how many times I see it, I am always amazed to see such a big voice emerge from such a small frame.
Pippa Ailion’s decision to cast Hammed Animashaun and David Ganly as the ugly sisters is golden as are their ridiculously flamboyant costumes thanks to Tom Scutt. Of course, panto wouldn’t be panto without its slip ups (and in this case literally – watch the show to find out why) which Munt and Ugger cover up so well. Despite a few crude gags (prosthetic body parts, collecting wood and the like) Mel Giedroyc is equally terrifying as she is wonderful as the wicked stepmother.
The only criticism I have is for the lack of the chart-topping hits we experienced last year and for which I was most looking forward to. While most probably preferred this alteration, I found it particularly enjoyable and therefore wasn’t satisfied with only Pokey Place (Lady Gaga’s Poker Face) and a few other numbers to sing along to.
In all however, the show was a success and I am already looking forward to seeing next year’s.