Only the other week I was having a discussion with some friends about the esoteric symbolism of fairy tales (Snow White in particular). The original tales rather than the sanitized Disney versions, make for interesting and sometimes uncomfortable reading. As we enter pantomime season where these tales are used as little more than a backcloth to hang jokes, songs and “celebrities’ upon, it is refreshing to see a theatre company presenting a dark and emotive version of Cinderella.
The Leicester Square Theatre I never knew even existed until earlier this week, I love the fact that there are theatres everywhere in Central London. Its underground theatre was the perfect setting for this intimate telling of this story. The cast of 4 use their acting and storytelling skills to present this familiar story to us. However they bring a different emphasis and we see the struggles of the Prince, Cinderella and her Father in new ways.
The “evil” step-sisters are played superbly by one member of the cast and provide the needed comic relief and are wonderfully dismissed by the narrator as comic devices in the play. Cinderella is beautiful but has a fragile and delicate composure which means we sympathise with her and want her to succeed. The depressed, love forlorn Prince shows his heart of gold as the play continues. All superbly led by the dark and witty narrator who spins this yarn with aplomb.
The production is interspersed with music played by the talented cast. To me it really felt like I’d been transported back in time, and this band of wandering minstrels had turned up, and were regaling us with their cunning tales.
Forget your “he’s behind you” pantos, make the effort to see a true fairy tale brought gracefully alive before your eyes, skillfully embracing the inherent darkness of the original story.
STARS : * * * *