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Cinderella review: The magic of panto survives

Theatre: The key transformative moment is well done but everything else in this production is a little underwhelming


Everyman Theatre


A pantomime without a physical programme seems like a kiss without a beard or an egg without salt. A website alternative has no aftertaste, nothing to bring home as a reminder of having been somewhere special, at a special time and with people familiar but in this experience also made special themselves.

All this specialness is encapsulated for an expectant juvenile audience by a single scene; expectant because, although we’re told not to believe in fairy tales this is one of the transformative moments crucial to this particular story and which only theatre can provide in living actuality.

So here the coach, which is to take Cinderella to the ball is revealed gleaming, spangled and above all sudden, earning its gasps of surprise and wonder thanks to otherwise unchallenged set designer Olan /Wrynn as the entire theatre swarms with stars thanks to otherwise unchallenged lighting designer Donal McNinch. More critical eyes might notice that little effort has been made to arrange perceptible mice or even a credible pumpkin, but perhaps pantomime is not meant for critics.


However, that is not an argument in favour of the banal, as children deserve the very best. The work of an energetic cast can’t be faulted, with a beautiful and tuneful Zoe Allman Walsh as Cinderella, a handsome hero in Padraic Di Fusco, inevitably called Prince Willie in a nod to some obligatory double-meaning, Irene Warren as the ugly stepmother channelling her inner dominatrix with every sibilant pause, a wistful Buttons from Andrew Lane and Anth Kaley’s talented band able at times to overcome the clamour of a dominant soundscape. Everyone on stage had to deal with that problem, even the juniors otherwise excelling in their charming costumes from an otherwise unchallenged Jessica Healy-Rettig.

So, something less than children deserve, but all the more reason for a starry programme to carry home.

Runs until January 15th at The Everyman

Mary Leland

Mary Leland is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in culture