The glittering ball that awaits audiences at Hope Mill Theatre this Christmas has been a long-time in the making. Owners, Joseph Houston and William Whelton had this show in their sights for four years, and twice its staging was stalled due to Covid. But this time it feels fate is on their side, and all that preparation has been worth the wait. In staging the European premiere of the 2013 Broadway production of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella they’ve pulled off a magical performance worthy of a Fairy Godmother.
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, based on the French version of the fairytale, has a much longer history. It was first written for television in 1957 starring Julie Andrews and has since gone through several adaptations for both stage and screen.
This latest Broadway adaptation has a new book by Douglas Carter Beane, which bursts with witty retorts and, although almost 10 years old now, feels particularly relevant to the current cost of living crisis.
Here our Cinderella is not just after finding her Prince Charming, but changing the world – one act of kindness at a time. It is a message we could all do with hearing more often and the fast-paced wit of the show prevents it falling into schmaltz.
Following an injury to her foot earlier this month, Grace Mouat has returned to the title role for the remainder of the run. We’re told the show has been slightly modified to ensure a comfortable return for Grace while she continues her recovery. However, this isn’t noticeable to the audience. Cinderella is a high energy show, which every aspect of the production amplifies.
The production is the first time, real-life partners Houston (director) and Whelton (co-director and choreographer) have worked together creatively since opening the venue in 2015. Watching it unfold is like seeing a dream come true. The venue’s intimate stage is transformed with a central revolve and impressive projection. There is enchanting puppetry, magical costume changes, and the standard of singing and performance of the whole cast is terrific.
It’s a triumph for everyone involved – don’t miss it.
Cinderella is at Hope Mill Theatre from 1 November to 11 December 2022.