Reviewed by Donald Madgwick for The Croydon Advertiser
Traditional it ain’t, but this will surely be a contender for the most original amateur panto of the season.
Written and directed by Richard Lloyd, it blasts Cinderella off into the space age with all the thrills of Star Wars and the kitsch of Doctor Who.
The costumes are stunning, though some of the head-dresses make the words beneath sound rather muffled and cavernous. The music, led in the liveliest fashion by Mark Taylor and three co-musicians, is appropriate to the enterprise, and sung with great commitment.
In the immensity of deep space, one thoroughly traditional element does remain, in the raddled, extravagantly costumed persons of Paul Breden and Mike Brown.
May I be made to walk the space plank if these are not the best amateur Ugly Sisters I have seen in many a season; raucous, rowdy and packing a knockout punch.
Richard Lloyd’s book is clever and ingenious, grafting on to the plot a tale of Jedi knights in mortal conflict. Notwithstanding the comic names, his darkly mysterious Bath Spider and Chris Argles’ wisely benevolent Knobbi-Wan Oggi-Oggi-Oggi take on a significance way beyond what is normally seen in panto.
I found the treatment of Buttons, a droid known as Q-4AP, the weakest part of the plot, though this is not to criticise Andy Robinson’s interpretation, which is endearing in a robotic way.
Lisa Lloyd is a great principal boy, a galactic fighter ace called Luke Stargazy-Pie and an ideal counter-weight to Vicky Gunstone’s pliant but not wishy-washy Cinderella.
Highlights of the action include a splendidly staged death for Grabba the Huss, the master-criminal, played with relish by Tim Young in the costume of a revolting green dragon-monster.
Tatiana Allison is terrific as the villain’s moll, and the whole cast rise to the occasion to give this panto a unique flavour.
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