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THEATRE REVIEW: Cinderella and the Beanstalk @ The Old Market, 14/12/17 – 6/01/18

The Verse’s Gemma Turner reviews Cinderella and the Beanstalk at The Open Market, which was on stage from 14th December 2017 – 6th January 2018, with a special note from her daughter, Frejya. 

Sleeping Trees’ Cinderella and the Beanstalk with its tiny cast, makes a long-lasting impact.

Casting a Cinderella that stands out in the panto from all the others must be a challenge, but Sleeping Trees’ Cinderella and the Beanstalk clever casting of Adam Roberston, equipped with his rather dashing moustache, nailed it.

Directed by Tom Attenborough with a cast of just four, Tom Gordon, Dami Olukoya, Adam Robertson, Shamira Turner, the group prove that not all pantomimes need a 40-strong troupe, leaving a long-lasting impact on their audience.

Packed with surprises galore, and with just about every character you expect to see in a pantomime (and some less expected) and without room for breath, the casts sing, dance and even martial arts their way through 100 minutes of pure entertainment.

There are songs aplenty, and the obvious pun or two to allow the audience to boo, hiss and cheer their way back into the average pantomime mentality that we all love.

Skimming over the conventional storytelling of Cinderella, the audience follows the heroic soon-to-be princess on an adventure to the top of the beanstalk to salvage the desired golden eggs. But with Prince Charming and a few unconventional helpers, trying to be heroic, what could possibly go wrong?

The chemistry between the cast really sets this pantomime apart from the rest. It is clever and fun, and not packed with the usual tired innuendos that panto is well-known for. Instead, the jokes are engaging and transfers from the fairy tale to the cast. The multi-musicianship displayed by Shamira Turner is not to go unnoticed, nor are her sound effects for Prince Charming’s sword ‘Excalibur’ (insert whispering). Dami’s incredibly clever Jekyll and Hyde rendition of the fairy godmother and the villain Rumpelstiltskin are both entertaining and talented. And then there is Tom’s three-part dialogue, all played by Tom himself.

Overall, this pantomime is a clever and impressive family experience of all things panto, with a very specular twist; it most definitely changed my view on a Christmas tradition!

Frejya (aged 11) adds: “My favourite bit was the fight scene; it was silly yet exciting. I thought all the actors were brilliant and the Scottish genie really made me laugh! I even got to dance with the cast!”

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