Cinderella @ The Tobacco Factory (diary)

Dr Martens for glass slippers, a band of hipster birds for a fairy-godmother and an awkward asthmatic Prince: there is nothing classical about this fairytale.

Travelling Light are back with the revival of Cinderella, originally directed by the specialist of the twisted-tale, Sally Cookson. Now, five years later, the clock strikes time for Chris Pirie to see if the slipper fits.

It suffers an initially slow start,  with a few too many  flapping birds and not enough flight. But once I saw each renovated character and how it subverted its shadow, the wit and intelligence of the script along with the effervescence of Travelling Light storytelling stitches a pair of wings on which this production soars.

For Christmas shows like this, however, I turn to the children in the audience to give me the honest verdict. A few bored faces, jokes flying over foreheads and a brief wailing at a rather macabre climax (involving a meat cleaver) tells me that Cinderella may be aiming too late for its intended target audience. But it’s the multi-sensory world confidently created by Travelling Light that keeps the kids in their seats and their legs stuck out over their heads as the Prince searches the Kingdom in the round,  desperately hoping that the sparkle-studded DMs will fit their pocket-sized feet.

In assigning a new pair of laces to the original slipper, notable narrative strands are left loose. But Cinderella pats the Panto pittifully on the shoulder, singing and stomping in its shoes to its own, captivating beat.

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