Cinders panto a smashing blend of trad and modern

Cinderella has been given an upgrade - but the panto is still a knock-out show for all ages, says John Dolan
Cinders panto a smashing blend of trad and modern

HITTING THE HEIGHTS: Zoe Allman Walsh as Cinderella in the Everyman panto. Picture: David Creedon

REVIEW

Cinderella

Everyman Palace

WE all know the rags-to-riches story of Cinderella... or do we? Even that most traditional of theatre genres - pantomime - has to move with the times, and so it is with the Everyman’s wonderful 2022 production.

In this version, Cinders isn’t so much dreaming of meeting her handsome prince, but dreaming of becoming an entrepreneur and launching her own jewellery brand. Good on you, sister, as her awful stepsisters definitely wouldn’t say!

And when Cinders does lock eyes and lips with her royal Mr Right, he doesn’t ask her for her hand in marriage - too soon, too soon - rather he asks her for a date at a coffee shop.

Those modern flourishes aside, though, this year’s extravaganza from the pen of the mighty Catherine Mahon Buckley sticks to the formula beloved by generations: Hilarity, absurdity, spectacular song and dance routines, and an audience screeching its approval every step.

It’s a tour de force with a Cork accent, and the cast excel at every level. Zoe Allman Walsh is a suitably demure and loveable Cinderella, Padraic Di Fusco her all-singing, all-dashing Prince. But, of course, as those two march the plot along, the scene-stealers in panto are often on the fringes of the story - and Irene Warren chews up the scenery and spits it out as a wonderfully nasty Wicked Stepmother. She told The Echo this week it was the first time in her long and successful career she had got to play the baddie, and she is clearly relishing every boo and hiss. Michael Sands is brilliant as Alfred, and his tongue-twisting routine with Di Fusco, followed by an ecstatically-received rendition of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, brought the old Everyman house down.

Oh, and Andrew Lane is endearingly memorable among the smallies as nice guy Buttons.

As ever, the script is peppered with Cork nods - I swear even Reggie from Blackrock Road got a mention - and PJ Coogan should be warned to stay away from the Everyman as the Ugly Sisters want to do unspeakable things to him because of his honeyed voice. (The Sisters - Fionula Linehan and Graham McDermott - by the way, are a superb double act of zinging one-liners).

All in all, a must-see. Oh yes it... ah, you know the rest!

The 7pm show on Thursday ended at 9.20pm, including a 15-minute interval.

Cinderella runs at the Everyman until January 15, 2023. Tickets from €26 at everyman cork.com

The show on Thursday, December 29 at 1.30pm is an audio-described performance and touch tour (touch tour begins at 12.30pm)

The show on Saturday, January 7, at 1.30pm is an ISL interpreted performance.

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