Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Frye’

Stephen Frye’s Cinderella at the Old Vic

December 26, 2007

I don’t want to indicate all we’ve done is eat for the last three days, but my tendency now is to talk about having biscuits and gravy for breakfast and then sausage and booooooze (I mean butterbean gratin) for dinner.  Food food food, eat eat eat! This is probably because today is a holiday in England and you can’t really do much because most of the shops are closed and public transportation is limited. I managed, though, thanks to the Tube and to having tickets bought long ago for … Stephen Frye’s Cinderella at the Old Vic, which we saw this afternoon. In short: you’ll get more panto kick at Dick Whittington’s Cat at the Hackney, and this show is very rude but not that funny.

Oh, gosh, my tummy is so full, it’s just hard to focus on writing right now! Okay, write write write … we had pretty good quality acting overall for this show – the background dancers were all on time and on key, and the costumes looked quite well done and not the least bit tacky. We also had a reappearence of “Man in Chair” as our narrator. That said … it was all a little … too good. This was SERIOUS panto, that was taking itself VERY seriously, and people just didn’t have enough room to be silly. All of the panto “elements” seemed a bit forced – the pie fight had no context, the singalong was not even tied into the theme of the show (in any way), and the audience talk-backs were … quick and perfunctory. Yay, we mocked Cinderella for being just too good for her health, yay, Buttons was gay …. but where were my drag queens, where were my fun and goofy songs? Where were the outrageous costumes? Where was my camp? Where were my tears of “it’s just too much” chortles? Instead we got many little political (and other) inside jokes … but it all seemed to come at the expense of what it is that makes panto fun. At least when you write for an 8 year old you can write with abandon. Cinderella wanted to be clever but seemed to forget how to laugh. Yes, yes, the basket of food had the missing data CDs, now where’s my corny pun? Where’s my OTT costumes?

At any rate, while my visiting Canadian guest found it absurd and enjoyable, I just felt like it could have been much sillier and more raucous and was disappointed. If you’re only doing one panto and you’re looking for a good time rather than being intellectually tickled (and not very hard at that), head to the Hackney Empire instead. I mean – they have monkeys! What more can I say?