Never mind the chill, gloomy, soaking wet weather outside.
The Royal Hippodrome Theatre is a blaze of colour, dance and music this week, as the Disney Kids’ Cinderella takes the stage.
New lease, new lease of life. Taking over at the Hippodrome from this month, Alex and Debbie Adams find themselves at the start of a bold and exciting enterprise: more of that later. But if this week’s production is an indication, then the theatre’s future is bright.
Fifty-five eager young performers on stage. A cheerful welcome from the busy band of front of house staff.
An assured and expert technical team steering the ship. Oh, and well over four hundred paying customers enjoying the show. This production is a winner on all counts.
Cinderella is a favourite tale, whether purely as pantomime or in this classic Disney version.
From an open audition six weeks ago, Debbie and Alex, with production manager Laura Sivers, have fused together the talents of a cast ranging in age from 5 to 18. From the very opening number the young voices blaze out a confident, vibrant wall of sound, and that standard is maintained throughout by both chorus and principals.
Splendidly dressed and lit, the dance routines are impeccably tight and precise, even from the very youngest cast members, and the formal ballroom numbers like the Midnight Minuet reach a standard that one would more usually see in an experienced adult ensemble.
In the title role, Emily McMillan is a delight, singing beautifully and sweetly earning the audience’s sympathy in her battle of wits with imperious stepmother Lara Davis and hilarious stepsisters Becka Wyatt and Eliza Hackett. Ilias Romnakis is a dashing Prince Charming, tuneful as well as nimble on his feet.
Clarity is a watchword in both singing and dialogue, with town criers Finian Hackett and Joseph Wyman setting the standard, and great support from – take a long breath here because they honestly all deserve a mention – Lester Searle, Ben King, Bethany Wood, Austin Price, Alfie Sefton, Freddie Woodgate, Cordelia Fahey, Emily Ashdown and James Floyd! By Kevin Anderson.