After switching on the Christmas lights in front of the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre in mid-November, Tamika Ramsey brought the energy back inside, starring as the brilliant and dazzling titular character in the company’s annual pantomime: Cinderella.
The brilliance of a good pantomime is the production’s ability to crack up both children and adults. The Lyric Theatre’s production could entertain anyone; it is a fun, colourful, and over the top performance, just as a pantomime should be. Rhys Taylor’s Fairy Fredbare perfectly captured the audience’s excitement with the “best jokes of the night,” a series of puns that tested the audience’s familiarity with London Underground stations. Taylor’s sparkling costumes and tremendous personality made every Fairy Fredbare entrance a pivotal moment.
While it would be unbelievably refreshing to see Cinderella stand up to her abusive family, the Lyric did add unique complexity to the classic characters. Though Cinderella spends her days as a servant, her passion lies in exploring the technology of outer space. Gabriel Fleary portrayed the Prince of Hammersmith as a kind young man with intense social anxiety and enough brains to hold his own in conversation with the brilliantly intelligent, astronomy loving Cinderella. Brains were more important than any glass slipper in the Lyric’s production.
Some theatre offers audience members an opportunity to escape from the world around them – Cinderella does not. The production is full of references to current politics and is unforgettably set in Hammersmith. Regardless, the Lyric’s production of Cinderella was exciting and engaging. One trip to the Lyric for the annual pantomime could easily lead to an instant tradition.
Cinderella is running now through 5 January at Lyric Hammersmith Theatre with tickets available on their website starting at £15.
Image courtesy of Lyric Hammersmith Theatre. Photo by Helen Maybanks. Design by Frankie Bradshaw. Lighting by Joshua Pharo.