By Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II
Directed by Heather Davies
Musical direction by Ryan De Souza
Choreographed by Kerry Gage
Performed by Alessia Lupiano, Kyle Golemba, Rebecca Poff, Steven Gallagher, et al.
The Grand Theatre, London
November 23 to December 31, 2011 **Held over to January 7, 2012
Reviewed by Mary Alderson

When a Fairy Tale Comes to Life

The classic fairy tale, Cinderella, comes to life on the Grand’s stage, and it looks just as you had always pictured it in your mind. Sets are lively and colourful and costumes are extravagant and beautiful. The story is true to the fairy tale with some humour thrown in. This production keeps children enthralled and adults interested.

Set designer Bill Layton describes the set as a delightful mix of Art Nouveau, Baroque stage design, European folk art, early French Impressionism and a smattering of magic. In this case, the magic is the best feature – with a pumpkin travelling around the stage, which transforms into a golden coach. The show opens on the main street of a quaint French village, reminiscent of the opening scene in Beauty and the Beast. Other magic includes human-sized adorable mice, a cuddly giant kitty cat, and proud, prancing horses!

Costumes are equally delightful: it’s a mix of modern and traditional fairy tale. Prince Chris (AKA Prince Charming) shows up incognito in a leather jacket with a scarf tossed around his neck, but later appears at the ball in proper prince attire. The mean stepmother goes shopping in her leopard fur coat, beehive hair-do, and Jackie Kennedy sunglasses, but later also dresses fairy-tale style for the historic ball.

The humour of the show comes from two characters – Jenny Hall as Joy, one of the ugly stepsisters and Steven Gallagher as Lionel, the Prince’s steward. Both these actors have superb comedic timing and provide laugh out loud moments every time they’re on stage. Hall is hilarious as she tries to cram her foot into the tiny glass slipper and as she bickers with her sister Grace played perfectly by Jennifer Stewart.

Gallagher sets the tone for fun with his song “The Prince is Giving a Ball”. His handling of the flirtatious step-mother, played by Susan Henley, is hilarious. Henley also supplies laughs as she hyperventilates about getting her daughters married off. She imparts her wisdom to her two ugly daughters, such as “Money doesn’t grow on trees, it’s inherited.”

New to the stage, Alessia Lupiano is a sweet little Cinderella, and Kyle Golembo as the Prince brings his charming good looks.

Rebecca Poff is a Fairy Godmother with attitude, and her rich singing voice is wonderful. Keith Savage as the King keeps us amused as he is trying to fit into his formal clothes for the ball. Robin Hutton as the Queen is delightful – she’s just another mother trying to find the right date for her son.

Credit for putting this fairy tale package together goes to director Heather Davies and choreographer Kerry Gage. It was so much fun to see all the little girls in the audience dressed in princess gowns and sparkling tiaras. This amazing spectacle will be one they always remember.

Cinderella continues at the Grand Theatre, London until December 31. Tickets are available at the Grand box office at 672-8800 or 1-800-265-1593 or visit


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