Well, they’ve gone and done it again!
Artistic director Sarah Brigham and the talented team at Derby Theatre have kept up their winning run of festive hits with another highly appealing show for all the family - Cinderella.
Adapted by the award-winning Mike Kenny and directed by Sarah Brigham, this is brought to you by the team behind last year’s heart-warming offering at the venue - A Christmas Carol - and attains the high standards set by its predecessor.
Take a well-known fairy tale, give it the Mike Kenny treatment, add in a batcn of new, charming songs from long-term Derby Theatre collaborator Ivan Stott, the always excellent set, lighting and sound design that we have come to expect from the venue, plus a talented group of eight multi-tasking actors - and four juniors - and you have all the ingredients for a wonderful show.
It would be perhaps easy to go down the route of making Cinderella a straight-down-the-line panto, but what I liked about this show was that Derby Theatre has gone for something a little different, effectively creating a brand new Cinderella musical.
I’m always a sucker for actors who can also sing and play musical instruments too, and this production has an octet of them, so I was thoroughly impressed by what I saw and heard.
Esme Sears returns from A Christmas Carol to take the title role here, providing the still, calm centre around which all sorts of larger-than-life characters can strut their stuff, and she also showcases a fine singing voice.
Stealing the show as Cinderella’s step-sisters This’un and That’un are Chris Lindon and Stephanie Rutherford. When these two are doing their thing, it’s hard to take your eyes off them, so entertaining are they.
The rest of the cast impress too, whether playing instruments ranging from double bass to saxophone, guitar to glockenspiel, or performing as a host of narrating rats who push the story along.
All in all, Cinderella will leave you and your family humming a whole new host of catchy tunes and with a warm glow as you make your way home - and you can’t ask for much more from a festive show.
Cinderella is highly recommended and can be seen at Derby Theatre until January 9. For ticket details, you can call the box office on 01332 593939.
Photo: Chris Lindon, Esme Sears and Stephanie Rutherford in a scene from Cinderella at Derby Theatre (Photo by Robert Day)