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Chris High reviews: Liverpool Empire 'Cinderella' 2005


Julian Clary, Sam Hudson, Laura Evans, Aiden O'Neill, Nataylia Roni, Philip Herbert, Paul Dallison, Andrew Bradley, Ian Gledhill
Director: Carole Todd
Choreographer: Stillie Dee
Liverpool Empire Theatre
20th December, 2005

Cinderella: promotional poster starring Julian Clary


"The Lavish Family Pantomime" is how it is billed and, beyond all expectations, this show certainly lives up to its hype. Cinderella at the Empire is a must see production by anybody's standards. With Julian Clary at his camp, innuendo spouting best, everything about this production is sheer professionalism, with costumes, sets and dancing to die for.

Of course the world knows the story; young girl can't go to the ball because of Ugly Sisters; Fairy Godmother makes it happen; Cinders meets Handsome Prince but has to leave at midnight, leaving her crystal slipper behind etc. etc.

With this cast, however, all of this happens and more. With jokes close enough to the knuckle to be limp wrist height, not only did the children enjoy themselves, so did the adults, as Clary rolled one camp aspersion into another, without ever over-stepping the mark.

The sets are glorious, only outdone by Julian's costumes, of which there were too many to count, and only being out-powered by the dramatic transformation of Cinderella into Princess Starlight. This includes an ultra-impressive glass coach and two live ponies, overlaid with a heart-stopping laser display worthy of a rock concert.

Sam Hudson (Born & Bred, Holby City) is suitably underplayed as Prince Charming, given that the majority of his scenes were alongside Clary. However, his singing voice is worthy of note, as is that of Laura Evans (Basil Brush Show, Dreams Of Gold) as Cinderella, who reprises her acclaimed role from her stint in Bristol of twelve months ago.

Aiden O'Neill (Stones In His Pockets, Jesus Christ Superstar) is the eponymous Buttons, who feels love and fails to express it quickly enough to capture Cinders' affections in time, though nonetheless keeps cheer in heart and the laughs and puns a- rolling.

Andrew Bradley and Paul Dallison as the Ugly Sisters, Verucca and Hernia, play their parts with suitable venom and spite to earn the all catcalls of a demented animal sanctuary, whereas Nataylia Roni as The Fairy Godmother has a voice that drips seduction.

But it's left to Julian Clary as Dandini, the Prince's bodyguard replete with half-naked man-servants to ferry him about the stage, who steals the show and all of the best lines.

Dandini: Who are you?

Godmother: I'm Queen of the Fairies.

Dandini: Well, I'm in a similar line of work myself. Can I help you?

Without Julian Clary this show would be a success. With him, it's exceptional.

Click here to view details and book for the Liverpool Empire Theatre



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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