The Chippy panto manages to pull something intoxicatingly joyous out of the bag year after year. But when Cinderella was announced we wondered how they’d add their inimitably magic touch to such a well known classic?
Set it in a jungle of course, give us two Latino dames for the price of one, endless fiestas and carnivals, rain forests, colour, noise, an evil banana plantation owner, some stellar delivery donkeys, huge spiders and a sound environmental message running throughout.
‘an absolute scream from start to finish’
And what a riot of fun it was from the word go, as we rode along through the leafy rain forest to the small town of Santa Maria de las Orejas de Soplillo (St Maria with the Sticky Out Ears), where we met Cinderella (played so jubilantly by Ainy Medina) who is a staunch environmentalist trying to stop her nasty stepmother Madre Monte (Pepa Duarte) from cutting down all the trees.
Her best friend Buttons, or Buttocks as the dames call him, (Renan Teodoro) a giant teddy bear of a man whom we all instantly adored, is her partner in crime every step of the way.
‘Cinderella’s tropical, family-friendly, warm-hearted story-telling provides the perfect foil to our cold winter landscape’
From meeting wealthy landowner Chico (Fabian Soto Pacheco) who is a shy, retiring chap desperate to make friends, to fending off the quite wonderful dames Adnausea (Laura Gomez Gracia) and Ian Crowe‘s Quosimoda, director/writer John Terry ensured it was an absolute scream from start to finish.
And it felt fresh, the entire story flipped so yes there was a happy ending, but the focus was not on a defenceless girl waiting for a prince to save her, but a survivor making do with a less than perfect scenario, totally immersed in saving her beloved jungle, rather than worrying about being rescued.
‘as for the dads in the audience, their participation was worth the ticket price alone’
And the dames, oh the dames. They were absolutely fabulous in every sense of the word. Over-the-top, funny, with perfect comic timing, novel jokes and a real comaraderie between them. Loveable, endlessly silly and rude, they stole the show.
“No I don’t want to see your ghoulies” was a wonderful rendition of their South American ghost song. And as for the dads in the audience, their participation was worth the ticket price alone.
‘the dames were absolutely fabulous, Over-the-top, funny, with perfect comic timing, novel jokes and a real comaraderie , they stole the show’
The cast was absolutely terrific, from the word perfect local children, to the leads, galloping through Latin America in a cacophony of original song, dance, wonderful outfits and bright atmospheric sets, no stone was left unturned in Chippy’s bid to whisk us away to the tropics, as we sang, shouted and laughed the night away.
So should you go and see it? Si, absolutamente! Cinderella’s tropical, family-friendly, warm-hearted story-telling provides the perfect foil to our cold winter landscape.
Cinderella is at The Theatre Chipping Norton until January 14. BOOK HERE