On 6th December 2022 I attended the evening performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘Cinderella’ at Hope Mill Theatre.
Based of the original book by Oscar Hammerstein II and new book by Richard Rodgers, this although just as magical is not your ordinary Cinderella story. This has much more meaningful scenes such as ‘Gabrielle’ one of Cinderella’s stepsister changing for the better and her secret relationship with ‘Jean Michel’ making her rebel against her controlling mother, & ‘Topher’ changing his laws for the towns people and putting a communist outlook on his character overall. These additions keep the story interesting and exciting. Overall, the story truly delivers what we all know and love about Cinderella and more! 5/5 stars
The cast really brought this show to life! Every single one of the cast members were outstanding.
Some absolute standouts were; ‘Julie Yammanee’ as Marie/Fairy Godmother her contrast between the two characters really stood out to me. Her acting was exceptional from her portrayal of ‘Marie’ so witty and frail to her portrayal of ‘Fairy Godmother’ as so elegant and intelligent. Not only was her acting great but her vocals were also amazing during her performance of the ‘Impossible’ it was utterly mind blowing and beautiful to see such a contrasting transformation between the 2 characters.
‘Annie Aitken’ who played ‘Madame’ was also a true standout I especially loved her acting she really captured the humour of the stepmother whilst also delivering the villainous cruelty of which her role carries, her facial expressions often left the audience in laughter and with her superb vocals she was truly magnificent!
Of course, it would be truly disrespectful to not mention Grace Mouat & Jacob Fowler playing ‘Ella’ & ‘Topher’. Grace brought the caring and loving side of Cinderella out, the audience couldn’t help but fall in love with her character from the start! And Jacob was absolutely hilarious as Topher at some points but also was able to bring out a more loving side to Topher especially when with Ella. Both of their vocals sounded exceptional especially in their duet song ‘Do I love you because your beautiful?’ where the blend of their two voices was so full of joy & perfectly sweet!
The whole cast were 5/5 stars!
Set and Projection design
The set design by Elly Wdowski truly brought out the best of the immersive experience you get from the Hope Mill. The stage often looked grand which suits the theme of the royal ball with an intricate detailed boarder around the stage with a few nods to the story such as Cinderella’s slipper and a pumpkin incorporated within the design. Set pieces were also brought on such as the prince’s banners which made it feel as though it was really Topher’s palace. But it was also adapted to looking magical with projections by projection designer George Revee, the projections were put in perfectly you could barely tell that it was a projection most of the time it looked so fascinatingly realistic! It really perfected the set by allowing for magic things to happen such as sparkles and pops of dark ocean colours during the Marie transformation scene which was a real highlight!
Not only did the stage look impressive, it also featured a revolve which was used during multiple scenes and was truly mesmerising!
This production also included animal puppets, which were used during scenes where Ella spoke to her animal friends, they were absolutely adorable and were such a cute addition to the already perfect set! All of this in consideration it was definitely a 5/5 star set.
With costumes designed by Elly Wdowski and Eve Slater the show was a real treat to the eyes!
All of the costumes were amazing, but some standouts for me was the fairy godmother’s dress which consisted of colours such as deep; green, purple, blue & pink and really brought her magical character to life. I also particularly enjoyed the stepsisters outfits ‘Charlotte’ & ‘Gabrielle’ wore they looked fantastic. Charlotte wore a green designer dress which could reflect the jealously and envy she holds against her nicer sister ‘Gabrielle’ who wore a light pink dress. The contrasting colours helped convey visually how juxtaposed their personalities are against each other. 5/5 stars
If you haven’t already gathered, this show was outstanding. Unfortunately the Hope Mill Theatre production has now finished it’s run , but if this production ever returns I highly recommend you go and see it. If not, I am sure that whatever the Hope Mill Theatre delivers next, will be just as good.
The show as a whole was a definite 5/5 stars!!