We had an absolute “ball” watching Cinderella at Newcastle’s Northern Stage. This modern adaptation of the classic fairytale showcased the absolute best about family theatre.
Ten minutes before the show started we found our seats as we were told (no spoilers!) that the actors would interact with the audience before the show started. It’s definitely worth arriving early for a belly laugh.
The cast includes seven talented actor-musicians who play instruments, sing, dance, act and use puppets on the stage. There was always something to keep the children engaged as the cast would appear from different entrances (sometimes from within the audience) and even a trap door.
The production was full of humour and audience participation which makes it a perfect Christmas show, and a great alternative to a panto. The element of surprise, originality and talented storytelling from the cast made it far less cheesy and much more like real theatre.
Cinderella has been retold many times with various changes in the plot; the Disney version is much more sanitised than the original. We enjoyed how closely this adaptation stuck to the Brother’s Grimm version of the story. It is the birds who help Cinderella, not a Fairy Godmother, and like the Grimm version, an evil step-sister has her toes amputated in an effort to get the shoe to fit. We really enjoyed the old-fashioned romance too – how refreshing to watch a play where the female protagonist falls in love with the prince rather than decides to become an independent woman.
That being said, Cinderella is a modern heroine. Rather than being a victim of her sad circumstances, she is resourceful, brave and clever. The Prince is charming, but he’s also kind, interesting and funny. Rather than simply gazing into each other’s eyes, in a love at first sight sort of scenario, it is their joint love for bird watching than unites them. It is a love story, but it’s an intelligent one – which makes Cinderella the sort of Princess that I’d like our 5 year old daughter to aspire to be like, rather than the Disney version. What’s more – there’s no dainty glass slipper in this play – but a pair of sparkly rock n’ roll Dr Martens.
The play was captioned to enable deaf and hard of hearing audience members to enjoy the show. There are also relaxed performances, British Sign Language Interpreted, and audio described performances.
The play itself was inclusive; every family member aged 5-99 would enjoy it. Younger children are welcome too if you think they could cope with the toe cutting scene. My children aged 9, 7 and 5 didn’t find it too scary as it was humorous.
Cinderella runs till 6th January 2024.
Tickets range from £12-£32, but children, student and young adult seats are capped at £12 no matter which seat in the theatre you pick. In this production you can opt to sit on the stage for a more intimate experience of the show.
Running Time is 2 hours including an interval.