If the term ‘camp as Christmas’ reads as a challenge to you (surely there’s always scope to make it campier?) and you like your entendres decidedly singular, then Tinderella will fit nicely into your seasonal entertainment stocking this year.
This adult panto makes no pretension of subtlety whilst embracing all the genre’s traditional features of thigh-slapping, cross-dressing and nonsensical mix-ups. Happy Endings Pantomimes seem to have developed their own subgenre that takes brash and ribald performance about as far as it can possibly go – whilst still being rather festively sweet.
Staged across two acts (directed by Robert McWhir) in the intimate Union Theatre (which has a bar as pleasingly capacious and congenial as its theatre space), Tinderella moves at the expected goofy pace. Of course, the plot and much of the theatrical business are predictable – that’s the whole, comforting point of panto. But where Tinderella did surprise (pleasantly) is with an exceptionally high level of musicality. Whilst it’s strong across the board, the vocal performances of Laura Mead (Ella) and Lauren Bimson (Prince Charming) stood out to a level you would not necessarily expect in a smaller off-West End space where the most expensive tickets are less than £30 each.
Popping up for the season, panto seldom gets much rehearsal time. Although on press night this production had the tiniest of technical hitches in the first act (with its mics) and felt a smidge less relaxed than I suspect it will become a few days into the run, its second act is second to none. Howlingly hilarious word-play (coupled with top-notch voices) in a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ had me crying. Tinderella incorporates a number of adapted music hall song-and-dance standards – that are exquisitely timed and equally hilarious – and at the same time has declared Cardi B and Meghan Thee Stallion’s ‘WAP’ as a new, naively rude panto classic.
Tinderella scratches a particular itch for those who like their tinsel trashy and their yuletide kitsch. If you’re eager to dive into the unapologetically crass and obvious world of adult panto, you’ll get plenty of that fairy dust with the added bonus of some exciting faces-to-watch performers.
Review by Mary Beer
Get ready for the funniest, filthiest, most wickedly fabulous pantomime you’ve always wished to see.
Release your inner child, and then leave them at home because this show is not for kids!
In a scandalous twist on the classic fairy tale, it’s time to swipe right on “Tinderella” – the naughtiest adult panto to ever hit the stage! You’re invited to a night of raucous laughter, innuendos, outuendos and unexpected encounters that will have you begging for more!
Tinderella is a whizz on social media, a real influencer, but it’s all a charade because poor Tinders has no money, no man and none of the glamorous life she claims to be living.
Until one day, she meets not one, but two Princes in the woods…. But who has the biggest balls?
Will this be her happy ending or will she lose more than her shoe?!
TINDERELLA, TWO BIG BALLS, ONE HAPPY ENDING!
Peter Bull Presents
From the creator of Above The Stag
26 November 2023 – 23 December 2023