Event review: Cinderella And The Beanstalk at Stanley Halls


By - Wednesday 20th December, 2017

An excellent, funny, traditional-modern combo – which didn’t quite connect with its young audience


Photo by Sleeping Trees, used with permission.

 Cinderella And The Beanstalk is the work of the Sleeping Trees company, described as ‘a delectable cocktail of your favourite pantomimes’ and featuring a range of familiar characters including Rumplestiltskin, Cinderella, Prince Charming, the Fairy Godmother, Jack and – naturally – his cow. It was on at Stanley Halls from 1st to 10th December 2017, and offered ‘the classical elements of a well-loved pantomime, with an astonishing range of fast, physical and bare-knuckled comedy’.

I attended with the rest of my family, and found it an original, self-aware piece of musical theatre to laugh at and also sing along with. The performance was professional and the actors were consistently committed to their characters, often playing more than one at a time on stage, which made for a number of rather enjoyable moments. The character changes and transitions between scenes allowed the cast to play with the audience, and the often Fringe-style set and costumes added to the already comical nature of the performance. The jokes were witty, and the delivery spot on, and although the original script was written a number of years back, the cast managed to deliver the jokes as if they had been created last week.

Photo by Stanley Halls, used with permission.

Despite the inclusion of a number of traditional features of a pantomime, including the famous ‘he’s behind you’ trope and booing the villain, the reaction from the audience was by no means a reflection of the show, as it consisted of a number of infants who simply were not following the dialogue and therefore missed a lot of the humour. One example of this was the use of a miniature model cow to insinuate that it was a real cow and that it was just far away – a witty visual gag that was a bit lost on the younger ones.

The fabulous musical accompaniment rounded the whole show off and brought an atmosphere that was unexpected from such a small-scale show in that venue. All in all, this was a pleasant family show to watch at Christmas that can be enjoyed by all ages, but perhaps should be reserved for a more in-tune audience.

Andrew Graham

Andrew Graham

Born and bred in Croydon, Andrew is an 18 year old actor, currently a member of the Andrew LLoyd Webber Bridge Theatre Company at the BRIT School as well as an active member of the Croydon Youth Theatre Organisation(CYTO).

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