A Very Very Bad Cinderella ★★★ The Other Palace | Dec 1, 2023 - Jan 7, 2024

This Christmas panto seems to be directed at a rather niche audience, theatrical insiders and aficionados of the musical. Many of the jokes would go over the head of your average panto goer, but the right audience will definitely enjoy the clever parodic moments of musicals, present and past. Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cinderella comes in for several digs, but we also get a great take-off of "I Got The Horse Right Here" from Guys and Dolls. In the current "meta" fashion, the show makes lots of fun of itself and is littered with asides from the actors. We get lots of jibes about their poor salaries, the minimal set and the show's rewrites. There are also multiple pop culture references, running from Naked Attraction to appearances by Gordon the Gopher. The story itself doesn't wander too far from the original, although the glass slipper is now a Croc. In this version the lascivious stepsisters Vajayjay (Imelda Warren-Green) and Fanny (Veronica Green) are the real focal points, and they make all the standard sexual puns, plus a few fresh ones. Both actors put in wonderfully over-the-top performances. For us, the comic high point was Vajayjay's quirky commentary incorporating the titles of musicals. This really was a clever piece of writing. As poor, put upon Cinderella, May Tether demonstrates a strong voice and does a fine job, while Keanna Bloomfield deftly alternates from playing lovelorn Buttons to the lovestruck Prince. This is a strong cast, and a thoroughly amusing show, but the real fun of A Very Very Bad Cinderella comes from catching its theatrical allusions, and this may not be a party game for everyone.

Rated: ★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Danny Kaan

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