You all know the story of Cinderella, but this pantomime puts a modern spin on a classic tale, making it the most inclusive and representative production of Cinderella I’ve seen yet.

Unlike previous Cinderellas who are made to fit a certain mould, this Cinderella has an attitude. Portrayed by Timmika Ramsay, Cinderella’s aspirations are more than just to find her Prince Charming. She is black, curvy and dreams of working in astronomy and engineering, which plays a large theme throughout the show. And furthermore, she speaks like a normal person, using conversational language and slang which breaks the fourth wall into the audience, making us feel more included in the story and making her a much better role model to young people. Throughout the production she wears dungarees and a top adorned with stars and feels like a more attainable, friendly character than in the classic. She exudes beauty from her kindness towards her family and best friend Buttons throughout the production, not solely based on conventionally attractive Western ideas of beauty.

This production of Cinderella gets it right when it comes to other characters too. Jude Christian cleverly weaves depth into characters contrary to the arguably shallow and outdated portrayal of them in the age-old fairytale. Prince Charming is somewhat socially awkward, Fairy Fredbare works through fears of Madam Meanie throughout the show and, without saying too much about the plot, the Snuggly Sisters, particularly Popsy, aren’t just to be taken at face value as one-sided mean girls.

Packed with humour and viral dances to well-known modern songs, with the opportunity for audience members to join in, the show appealed to all ages, referencing the modern time we live in through jokes that older audience members in particular would much enjoy. Audience involvement was really well considered as two young children won prizes for taking part in the show, one of them, in fact, finding Cinderella’s glass slipper! Foam falling from above, Fairy Fredbare tossing sweets into the audience, and actually making a birthday announcement for an audience member only increased the sense of community and enjoyment everyone felt at the theatre, especially as inclusion played such a huge part in this production.

The costumes were also key in adding the extra wow-factor to the show and for this, Frankie Bradshaw was to credit. Not only were the chorus members wearing bright eye-catching costumes, but the two Snuggly Sisters and Madam Meanie (played by Shobna Gulati who has also been in Coronation Street) wore something outrageous yet wholly appropriate in each different scene with her pet alligator being a nice touch. The set was top-class and transitions smooth, with the constellations lingering in the sky throughout the production as a continuous reminder of Cinderella’s passion for astronomy.

Overall, inclusion, representation and above all else, fun, were at the heart of this production of Cinderella, which made every character in the production likeable in some way showing their individual virtues and faults. Therefore I would recommend it to anyone open minded and particularly to families and young people as the show encapsulates wonder and fun beautifully.

By Tahmina Sayfi - Henrietta Barnett School