Glasgow Academy of Musical Theatre Arts (GAMTA) have teamed up with Eastwood Park Theatre to present this year’s festive pantomime, Cinderella.
The set and costumes are a feast for the eyes, the glittering, decorated proscenium adds to the wonder before the curtain even rises. There’s glitz, glamour and special effects, all adding to the magic of the production.
While the youthful cast win in the energy and effort department, it is however, a dance-heavy, slow to get going, take on the traditional tale. There are some baffling additions to the story which seem to have been shoe-horned in to showcase GAMTA’s dance credentials, unfortunately they only add to an already over-long run time. It also suffers from the fact Buttons is being played by a young child and the object of his affections a clearly mature teen, it all adds a creepily uncomfortable element which will no doubt go over the heads of the children in the audience, but feels a tad uncomfortable for the adults.
Where it succeeds is in its comedy elements, Ciara Flynn and Rebecca McComb are a perfectly matched comedic double act as Ugly Sisters and provide the majority of the true highlights of the show.
The cast can’t be faulted for their skill or talent, however, they suffer from an over-long and overly-dull script that dilutes the magical potential the show could have had.
Lionel McLion has been roaming the plains of the Serengeti and is having a rest after having eaten his dinner, but all is not as usual. Lionel gets a bit of a fright when Mamoru, the human he’s just eaten, starts talking back.
The highly acclaimed, children’s theatre piece Eaten, starts not only a conversation between the eater and the eaten, but a wider discussion about our relationship to food (including Lionel’s impossible dream of becoming a vegetarian), where it comes from, and what happens after we’ve chomped it down.
For the kiddie audience there are many moments that engage: there are poos, farts and vomit involved and some audience participation where the tiny folk get to be a giraffe, a monkey, a cow or a frog – what’s not to love for the 6+ target audience.
It slips into the surreal often and is hysterically funny in parts: there’s a Q and A session when the tiny audience are confronted by Dr. Poo (from Pooniversity) imploring them to ask a question to their faeces – it’s hard to keep a straight face at their reactions and an off-the-wall dance section to Engelbert Humperdinck’s Last Waltz.
The ideas are sound, but the script at times smacks of someone who doesn’t know how to pitch to small children – when the question is asked of a puppet cow Are you real or just a concept? you know that this isn’t someone who spends time with a lot of 6-year-olds.
Mamoru Iriguchi plays both predator and prey simultaneously, both he and co-performer Suzi Cunningham are engaging. It must be said though that Iriguchi needs to hone his child interaction and wrangling skills to make this a truly successful endeavour. That said, Eaten raises not only some important questions but many smiles too.
A worthy watch.