I’ll admit to a bit of a parenting-fail. I somehow missed exposing my kids to basic fairytale stories. We’ve read books, constantly, to our kids since they were young but I never focused on the fairytales. Now it could be due to the fact I have boys but I think it had more to do with the fact I wasn’t thrilled with how females were portrayed. Nonetheless fairytale stories are woven into everyday references and I didn’t want my kids to be completely clueless. So, when I heard that Broadway Across Canada was bringing CINDERELLA to the Queen Elizabeth stage I made sure to get tickets to see the show.
I was blown away by the opening night performance. We have seen a number of Broadway Across Canada shows and they always provide great entertainment. The performances are top notch & the staging is spectacular. But the updated version of Rodger & Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA knocked my socks off for 2 reasons: the insanely impressive on-stage costume changes, and the updated storyline.
Not wanting to give away all the surprises, let me just say, you need to avoid blinking. We all know the points in the story when Cinderella transforms, so you know the key moments to keep your peepers open. Some of the on-stages changes I figured out, and some I have absolutely no clue how it was done. Cinderella’s last costume change in particular. Unbelievable! You know it is impressive when the whole audience oohs & aahs and applauds.
But the real stand-out for me was the updated script. Cinderella, and the Prince, became fully developed characters looking to fulfill their whole lives and not just their love lives. Jokes were made about how could Prince Christopher (aka Prince Topher) possibly be the future king because he seemed to have a brain, a heart, and a conscience. The Prince sings a song about wanting to be more than just a dragon fighting prince, he wants more. Once he clues into the dastardly ways of his advisor, Sebastian, the Prince establishes the first election in the land. All the kids in the audience got a crash-course in democracy in under 5 minutes.
Cinderella is in love with books. She speaks her mind, she shows compassion to all (but I guess she always did that), and she encourages the Prince to help his people. Cinderella opens the Princes eyes to the fact all is not well in his kingdom. People are suffering and changes need to be made.
Despite the serious nuances added to the production (poverty, tyranny & the establishment of a government), the show is 100% entertainment. The songs are wonderful, the staging evokes the dreamland world we expect of fairytales, and the costuming is pure magic…seriously! Boys & girls of all ages will be on the edges of their seats throughout the entire performance. The audience on opening night leapt to their feet for a standing ovation…those are hard to come by in Vancouver!
Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella:
Dates: April 11 – 16, 2017
Time: 2pm matinee & 7:30pm evening performances
Where: Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Address: 630 Hamilton Street, Vancouver