Cinderella Cambridge 2007/08

The Sunday Telegraph

Making her panto debut as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella at the Cambridge Arts Theatre, Helen Lederer pulls it off nicely with a well judged (if underwritten) performance.

But the major delight is a superb Ugly Sister – Brad Fitt, who is also the writer and co-directs with Scott Ritchie, his partner in crimes against haute couture; they both appear in a series of increasingly outlandish frocks as Dolce and Gabanna and provide most of the show’s laughs.

Matt Crosby is an engaging Buttons, Steve Parry’s score keeps things bouncing along nicely and there’s an excellent slop scene, sadly another element of traditional panto that seems to be on the wane.

Veronica Lee. 30th December 2007.

Hunts Post

They are the best drag act duo since Hinge and Brackett.

Brad Fitt and Scott Ritchie played the ugly sisters Dolce and Gabbana with a depth that made you want to see them in a spin off sitcom. I want to see them trying out the hat section in Cambridge’s new John Lewis or offering counselling sessions to first wives. Dolce had a touch of Fanny Craddock in the scene where she prepares her beauty potions. there was such an air of authority, I was two steps away from believing in the recipes.

They were unrecognisable but the two are old hands at the Cambridge panto, with Brad as seasoned writer and director and Scott as choreographer with sauce. It is a recipe for success. (Sorry, but you should hear their jokes) I loved the singing from Polli Redston as Prince Charming and Ellie Cobbas Dandini – and when the ugly sisters were bullying Julie Buckfields Cinderella, there was a real energy on the stage.

This is another sparkling panto with lovely Helen Lederer as the Fairy Godmother, Matt Crosby as the endearing Buttons and plenty of colour and visual surprises. Some of the costumes are inspired – others have expired (Oh sorry – it kind of draws you in.) There were plenty of school parties in for the opening night of the show and three birthdays. So there was plenty of noise. When Dolce said at the end that we were the best Monday night audience they had had that week – do you know, I think he really meant it. It was true. We were rather good. And this was the first time I had seen a panto audience stand up at the end and give the cast a standing ovation.

Congratulations too, to Steve Parry and to Dave Webb for his Sax appeal. there was some lovely listening. the music had star quality, too.

Angela Singer. 11th December 2007.

The Stage

It was Uncle Steve’s birthday when I saw the Cambridge Arts Theatre Cinderella, but I’m sure he (Steve Parry, musical director) plays as enthusiastically at every performance – a terrific, jazzy, snappy score to accompany Brad Fitt’s witty and enjoyable romp.

The transformation scene is magically done – a great white flying horse gradually revealed – the set is impressive throughout. The final walkdown in blue and white against the palace’s red curtains provides a memorable conclusion to a very entertaining and commendably child-centred production.Helen Lederer is the most amusing Fairy Godmother I’ve seen this season – great gags, whimsically delivered. Julie Buckfield is a sincere and affecting Cinders and Matt Crosby works hard as Buttons, an engaging sidekick. Their duet is a great moment in the show. Brad Fitt and Scott Ritchie as Dolce and Gabbana are a delight – the former (slightly) quieter and more droll, the latter taller, louder and more camp. A waggish pair! Ellie Cobb and Polli Redston slap no mean thighs as Dandini and Prince Charming. One rarely sees this aspect of panto tradition exercised these days. Although, what the kids made of it I had no time to discover, alas.

The transformation scene is magically done – a great white flying horse gradually revealed – the set is impressive throughout. The final walkdown in blue and white against the palace’s red curtains provides a memorable conclusion to a very entertaining and commendably child-centred production.

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