It’s nearly the end of the year, and we all know what that means theatrically… cue Pantomime season, a chance for all of the best loved fairytales and Christmas inspired stories to be taken off the top shelf, dusted off, and the magical and outright nonsensical to see the light of day! Why only watch the one straightforward Panto, when you can watch a fusion of the most iconic stories ever told? Cue Sleeping Tree‘s quirky fusion of Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk.
Picture the scene, you’ve spent months organising a show for the Christmas season, you have the theatre booked, the script hot off the press, costumes aplenty, music serenading the audience as they find their seats… only to find that something’s missing… the performers themselves. So what do you do? Surely you could just cancel, apologise to the anticipating crowd and hope for the best… or… take on the mammoth task of putting on a 2 hr Panto with just 3 performers…
Challenge accepted in the case of the Sleeping Trees theatre company who dazzle the small but appreciative crowd with their original take on 2 classic Pantomimes. The question that immediately presents itself is the editing, how will Sleeping Trees bridge both of these tales together, will one story steal the spotlight whilst the other dwindles in the background? Sleeping Trees manage to give both of the tales air to breathe.
If you’re looking for a traditional panto, then this perhaps isn’t the show for you. Cinderella and the Beanstalk doesn’t shy away from the conventions of call and response, the pantomime dame, and witty one liners, however this production is fresh, you can’t help but admire the contemporary aura the piece transmits. Joshua George Smith, John Woodburn, James Dunnell-Smith clearly are having a whale of a time on stage, and that translates brilliantly.
The evening could easily be a walking talking advert for the onesie, with the amount of costume changes made swift and light hearted by a range of character influenced onesies that really make the evening a joy. Shrek-influenced in its referencing to various other fairy tales, the evening adds its own stamp as to what pantomime should be, and is truly charming in style, character and original songs. 4/5
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
Cinderella and the Beanstalk is currently showing at Theatre503 until Saturday 2nd January. For more information on the production, visit here…