AN enchanting rags-to-riches fairytale has been re-imagined for the 21st Century in musical extravaganza CinderElla at the Nuffield Theatre in Southampton.
The show, written and directed by Michael Fentiman (Amélie the Musical) with music and lyrics by Barnaby Rice, will be on stage at Nuffield Southampton Theatres’ NST City in Guildhall Square until 5th January.
Billed as a “musical remix” of the traditional tale, this story features not one but two leading characters – a kind young lady called Cinders and an older woman named Ella, whose wicked nieces Melania and Ivanka try to con her out of her home and money.
With a lively original score – and an incredibly versatile cast of just seven actors – the show is certainly something different with plenty of moments of adult comedy that will appeal to older teens.
The opening scene is beautifully set as a grand ballroom stage with a stunning, flying bridal gown taking centre stage, along with exquisite costumes.
With a lovely confident voice that sparkles throughout, Lydia White was wonderful in the role of Cinders, and her brilliant performance of This Time Last Year while playing piano was certainly a high point.
Alongside her, Valda Aviks gave a convincing performances as the older widowed Ella who is missing her recently departed husband Bert.
Brilliant, too, are the man-eating wicked nieces Melania (Emma Darlow) and Ivanka (Imelda Warren-Green) who not only act but also play a guitar and violin on stage at various intervals. Their double act and timing was superb – and their antics had the audience in fits of laughter.
The story continues as Harry attempts to turn around the fortunate of the run-down Midnight Ballroom night club by hosting a special event when he meets Ella outside a supermarket and gives her a ticket to come along.
The unlikely fairy godmother soon appears in the form of flamboyant policeman (Tom Hier) who switches Cinders and Ella over so they can go to the ball in disguise.
Although there were moments when my seven-year-old daughter struggled to keep up with the sometimes complicated storyline, there was also much to love about this brave new show – full of colourful characters, wonderful costumes and an incredibly talented cast.
Although families with smaller children may be better served by a traditional pantomime, for those with teenagers CinderELLA really does deliver some very funny moments that make for a memorable show.
The production will be at NST City in Guildhall Square until 5th January next year. Tickets are from £10 to £25. For more information visit www.nstheatres.co.uk or call the box office on 023 8067 1771.