There are so many pantomimes on in London at this time of year that it’s sometimes hard to pick a winner. They all claim to be the best; the best adult panto, the best comedy panto, the best traditional panto etc. etc. With so much choice it’s potentially disastrous; once you’ve been to a dud panto you’re unlikely to queue up for another: once bitten, twice shy and all that.
Which is why I was so relieved and then, subsequently, over-joyed to watch Sleeping Trees’ production of Cinderella and the Beanstalk. It’s a mash-up of about every fairy tale story you wish to mention and the three strong cast take on all the dozens of characters. Not that they expect to take on every single part at the show’s beginning. In fact, they start the show in black tie; expecting to simply introduce the cast and then enjoy their creation in an audience seat. But, in true fringe-comedy style, nothing really goes to plan, and the trio have to step up to the challenge; delivering a stupendous performance that genuinely leaves you with face ache from laughing so much.
The humour is silly, but, interestingly, it isn’t padded out with your typical pantomime innuendo, so this is a true family show- enjoyed by the 5 and 65 year olds in the audience. And, while you couldn’t really call the production ground-breaking, it’s as if the trio have set about combining all your favourite aspects of panto and comedy and then they succeed in presenting it in a slick, perfectly timed format. Having said that, there are some pretty unique musical numbers, which are sort of ground breaking in their own way- I’m talking about ‘Love is a Wickes brochure’: surely the best anti-romcom number in any panto to date.
Yes, I’m raving about this show. As soon as it finished I wanted to watch it again, but then I thought that would be unfair; the cast must be knackered after bouncing around the stage for a couple of hours. So I decided that I would book a second ticket, which is when I realised that this show is fast selling out, so get your tickets to the perfect Christmas tonic before you miss it!
Cinderella and the Beanstalk plays at Theatre 503 until December 30th.
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