Tuesday, 29 December 2020

REVIEW: Cinderella at the Turbine Theatre

Pantomime at this time of year is usually a family affair but there has always existed an adult version which targets a narrower audience in which there are no boundaries. Jim Davison toured often with Sinderella and Boobs in the Wood and versions are still available online but this version from Paul Taylor Mills at the Turbine Theatre definitely does not start from the same outlook as those nineties shows. Instead his Cinderella is a 2020 socially distanced romp that soon lives up to its billing of "not for the faint-hearted". It is definitely for an 18 plus audience and you soon lose count of the use of the "F-word"s, repeated often for cheap laughs from the Battersea audience. 

The pedigree of the show bodes well. Taylor-Mills has had some creative success since he opened the tiny Turbine Theatre next to the redeveloping Battersea Power station. Jodie Prenger who co-wrote the show with Neil Hurst, found fame on the TV Talent show "I'd do anything" and has established herself as a Leading Lady in Oliver!, Annie, Spamalot and most recently in a revival of A Taste of Honey. Director Lizzie Connolly met her star of this show, Rufus Hound who plays Buttons in the West End production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrel. The cast is restricted by the rule of six so alongside Hound are a hard-working talent cast of five.

Oscar Conlon-Morrey who was, before lockdown, in Only Fools and Horses plays VeJajJay alongside Scott Paige as Fanny and they make a very good confident "aren't we fabulous" Ugly Sisters. Daisy Wood Davies who was playing Carole King in the UK tour of Beautiful when Covid struck is a feisty Cinderella who shows she is a red-blooded thespian. Sean Parkins plays the Fairy Godmother F. in a large blonde wig and gorgeous red dress and warns Cinderella to leave the ball at 10pm under the new Covid rules! Debbie Kurup plays the Prince formerly known as Prince whose invites to the Ball are sent by phone messages. 

It has a very up to date anti-establishment feel with references to Prince Andrew in Pizza Express, Buttons being furloughed as a Bell-Boy, all wearing surgical gloves to try on the crystal Ugg Boot and a songsheet featuring a chorus of Boris Go (based on "Let it Snow"). Indeed they do pay tribute to traditional Pantomime with a CGI green Ghoulie for the Ghost of West End Willie bench scene, a good tongue twister routine, the old sketch about how little you work and the traditional business of trying on the Boot by the Uglies. My favourite gag was when asking for help with a Crossword clue of Postman and asked how many letters, the answer was "F**king loads". For once the F word providing a humorous emphasis. 

There is a good musical selection with updated lyrics for a very good Hamilton rap, a hilarious dig at the Cats movie in a rewritten Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, "Me Party" from The Muppets Movie and a song from Six. It's not surprising that these provide show highlights given the West End Musical experience of the cast. 

It is simply captured and edited and benefits from the actual small audience in the venue who the cast can react to unlike some of the other online streamed Pantomimes. It's diverse in its casting and storyline but not in its politics but clearly knows its target audience. If you are aged between 18 and 35, live in London and hate the Tories, then this could be the streamed Pantomime for you. 

Review by Nick Wayne 

Rating: ★★★

Seat: Online | Price of Ticket: £12.50
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