Tron, Glasgow

Mary Brennan

four stars

Poor Cinderella. Sorely put-upon by an uncaring step-family, the Royal Ball is the one bright spot on her horizon. Traditionally, it’s hopes dashed, then - Fairy Godmother, pumpkin, glass slipper, escape (?) into marriage.

In Johnny McKnight’s cheeky re-working of events, however, the ball is a men-only affair, with a Princess, not a Prince, scouting for a spouse. McKnight’s sweet-natured Cinders (Sally Reid) was, sort of, thinking partnership - but what she wanted was for entrepreneurial Princess Charmaine to invest in her failing clothes shop. Can some (non-surgical) magic effect a transformation from she to he? Well, with a title like Cinderfella, what do you think?

The opening number nails the show’s colours to the mast: WOMEN is writ large in lights, while an all-female ensemble gallusly asserts their right to cross-dress, cross boundaries and criss-cross swiftly between characters when McKnight’s imagination outstrips a cast of only seven. At first, having two silly-billy step-brothers instead of two mean ugly sisters feels like a gimmick that could soon wear thin. But Daisy Ann Fletcher (the dim-witted Larry) and Hannah Jarrett-Scott (the altogether sharper Harry) inhabit the pretend-pecs, the facial hair and cocky quiffs with a wannabe macho swagger that has grains of observational savvy lending bite to the entertaining spoofery. As for Cinders, her chum Muttons - yes a sheep, folks - wangles a spell that sees her man up as Cinderfella. If Jo Freer is totally baa-dass as Muttons, she’s also rribbit-rribbit hilarious as the Fairy Frogmother who engineers the ridiculous plot twists. It all ends life-affirmingly well. People-pleasing Cinderella finally finds her own inner strengths - and maybe even true love with the sassy Charmaine (Lauren Ellis-Steele, doubling magnificently as the malevolent Wicked Stepmother.) Director/designer Kenny Miller has left no glittery spangle, camp nod or wink, loitering unwanted in the wings while Ross Brown is yer man for making the music swingalong grand style.