|Risa Craig - Adellene Fitzsimmons - Holly Ross |
Ickle Pickle ProductionsBelconnen Theatre until January 24th 2015
Reviewed by Bill Stephens
Originally written for television in 1957, as a vehicle for Julie Andrews, this charming little Rodgers and Hammerstein musical retelling of the familiar Cinderella story proves the perfect vehicle for Ickle Pickle Productions to celebrate their 10 years of theatre production in Canberra.
With its enthusiastic, predominately young cast including four enchanting white mice, amusing, if decidedly cheesy script by Tom Briggs, tuneful songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein, pretty story-book costumes courtesy Janette Humphrey and her team, and witty, colourful set by Steve Galinec and Anita Davenport, it is also perfect holiday entertainment for audiences both young and old.
Justin Watson and Hannah McFadden’s deft, neatly-paced direction moves the storytelling along at a fast clip. Scene transitions are achieved efficiently and magical moments include a well-managed transition when the fairy god-mother turns the pumpkin and mice into a sparkling coach complete with footman to take Cinderella to the ball. McFadden’s simple, well-drilled choreography, confidently performed by the large ensemble cast, insures spectacle, especially in the important Act Two Ballroom scene.
Pretty and winsome, Adellene Fitzsimmons is a lovely Cinderella. No wonder Pip Carroll’s likeable but self-absorbed Prince Christopher falls head-over-heels for her at first sight. Their scenes together are quite delightful. Amy Jenkins as Cinderella’s stepmother, together with Risa Craig and Holly Ross as her stepsister’s Joy and Grace, are deliciously loathsome and very funny as they connive and compete, unsuccessfully, for the attentions of Prince Christopher.
Alyce King and Michael Miller as the Prince’s parents Queen Constantina and King Maximillian contribute amusing cameos, and Leanne Olsen is suitably regal as the Fairy Godmother. But it’s Ben Hardy, as Lionel, the Royal Steward, who steals the show with his cleverly sustained barrage of witty asides and physical comedy which makes it impossible to take your eyes off him while he’s on stage. His performance alone is worth the price of the ticket.
However there’s so much more to engage your inner-child. Although, just one quibble! Please, please, Mrs Wardrobe, find a pretty princess dress for Cinderella to wear in the finale!
This review appears in the CITY NEWS digital edition 11th January 2015