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Friday, 3 December 2021

REVIEW: Cinderella at the Wilde Theatre in South Hill Park

The pantomime season has started, and my first visit is to perhaps the most popular and traditional title of Cinderella at the small intimate Wilde Theatre in South Hill Park. Joyce Branagh’s script gives the familiar story a very fresh modern feel by setting it in HardUp Hotel run by Buttons and Cinders, although with the junior ensemble dressed as geriatrics with Zimmer frames, it looks more like an upmarket care home. Director Adam Stafford takes this starting point and integrates the Junior Ensemble into each scene to add depth to the small cast and create some of the best comedy moments of the show.

Victoria Spearing’s fourteenth pantomime set design once again sets new standards in creativity and innovation with a wonderful three truck set for the Hotel Reception which is practical and attractive and transforms into a beautifully conceived external gypsy caravan cafe wood scene that doubles up for the Finale walk down. In between it felt like what was left of the budget was sparingly used in the slosh scene and the ballroom scene which failed to match up to the quality of the opening scenes and the transformation scene was rather pedestrian. Alan Valentine’s colourful lighting adds to the pretty pictures created. 
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