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Mark Fisher
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Follow me on Twitter at MarkFFisher, WriteAboutTheat and LimelightXTC I am a freelance journalist and critic specialising in theatre and the arts. Publications I write for include the Guardian and the Scotsman. I am the author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide: how to make your show a success and How to Write About Theatre: A Manual for Critics, Students and Bloggers. I am also editor of The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls: A Limelight Anthology. From 2000-2003, I was the editor of The List magazine, Glasgow and Edinburgh's arts and events guide.
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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Theatre Review: Cinderella/A Million Miles Away

Published in the Guardian
Cinderella/A Million Miles Away
His Majesty's Theatre/Lemon Tree, Aberdeen
THREE STARS
NO ONE would doubt Elaine C Smith is good casting as Cinderella's Fairy Godmother. As well as her star charisma (these days, as much from her run of HMT pantos as her role in Rab C Nesbitt), she brings maternal warmth, cheery rapport and wholesome good humour. 

Plus she has a pair of lungs on her. Whether she's leading a small army of Rod Stewart lookalikes in leopard-skin leggings, tartan scarves and blond wigs; doing a turn as Gladys McKnight singing Midnight Train to Huntly; or reworking the James Bond soundtrack as a big-haired Adele, she can match the best of them note for note.

But throw in Jordan Young as a loose-limbed Buttons, Alan McHugh and Iain Stuart Robertson as benign Ugly Sisters and Barbara Rafferty as a malevolent Demonica, and there's scarcely any room for poor Cinderella. In the lead role, Gillian Parkhouse shares two things with Ross William Wild's Prince Charming: an ability to belt out the chart hits and a cardboard cut-out character. We see little evidence of her exploitation, still less of her poverty and, when things start looking up, no sense of her nervousness at the ball nor wonder at her miraculous transformation.

The perfunctory treatment of this central story means that, for all the life and bonhomie in the performances, good gags about Donald Trump and old-fashioned light-entertainment values, there's not enough at stake for the happy ending to move us.

Elsewhere in Aberdeen at the Lemon Tree, Frozen Charlotte is taking a younger audience on an island adventure in A Million Miles Away (until 24 Dec). Its story about a girl getting to know her eccentric uncle is of little consequence, but it has a likeable home-made aesthetic and a touch of magic when it releases a sky-full of twinkling stars.
Mark Fisher
Until 5 January (01224 641122). Details: www.aberdeenperformingarts.com
© Mark Fisher 2013 
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