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Review - Cinderella: A mesmerising production filled with top Aussie performers

By Liv Wilson


Music by Richard Rodgers

Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II

New Book by Douglas Carter Beane

Original Book by Oscar Hammerstein II

Directed by

Choreographed by Josh Rhodes

Musically Directed by Simon Holt

Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella is playing at The Lyric Theatre, QPAC until 3rd September. Tickets start at $59.Bookings:

The story follows a young woman Ella who is forced into a life of servitude by her cruel stepmother. She dreams of a better life, and with the help of her Fairy Godmother, Cinderella is transformed into an elegant young lady and is able to attend the ball to meet her Prince. In this marvellous musical Ella opens the Prince's eyes to the injustice in his kingdom and works with him to create a just and joyful kingdom for all.

This lush production features incredible orchestrations, jaw-dropping transformations and all the moments you love – the pumpkin, the glass slipper, the masked ball – plus some surprising new twists! Be transported as you rediscover some of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most beloved songs, including “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible/It’s Possible” and “Ten Minutes Ago” in this hilarious and romantic experience for anyone who’s ever had a dream.

Brisbane’s opening night of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella was everything you could hope for and more! Between the dazzling costumes, stunning vocals and gorgeous storytelling this show will show you that courage and kindness are two of the most magical things we have in this world.

Shubshri Kandiah, our undeniably perfect Ella, was every bit true to the beloved character and played her with fierce hope and optimism. Kandiah’s vocals are some of the cleanest and tonally perfect we have seen in Brisbane for a long time. Her performance in ‘In My Own Little Corner’ was delightful and she held the audience in the palm of her hand with every note. Shubshri’s exquisite dancing was enough to make you melt; she did everything with grace and fluidity. Her Ballroom Waltz with Ainsley Melham which closed out Act 1 was magical and utterly romantic.

Ainsley Melham as Prince Topher was a breath of fresh air. His vocal control and command helped to showcase the character’s struggle between becoming the man he knows he can be and playing things safe. Like most of the audience, I was entirely fixated on Malham’s performance in ‘Ten Minutes Ago’ which tends to be one of the more well-known numbers of Cinderella. Any young performers looking for an example of acting through song should keep an eye on Ainsley, he truly puts on a clinic.

The gorgeous Silvie Paladino played Marie with an exquisite balance of charm and grace - she really knows how to command the stage! ‘Impossible/It’s Possible’ and ‘There’s Music In You’ were two of the best musical numbers of the show and a large part of their marvel can be attributed to Paladino’s stunning vocals.

The almighty Madam was played by Debora Krizak, and when I say she sent chills down my spine, I mean it! The venom in her voice, the sharp physicality and the ridicule in each sentence couldn’t have been done better.

Krizak played off Kandiah’s naivety and innocence well and showed the audience how cunning and deceitful the character really was. Krizak was a perfect casting choice for Bianca Bruce & Matilda Moran’s mother. These ladies played Cinderella’s famous step-sisters in an enjoyably refreshing way. Bruce (Charlotte) was hilarious all night long and balanced the character’s ditziness with gusto. Moran (Gabrielle) was gorgeous in her role and lent into the character’s conflicted mind well. Moran’s chemistry with Kandiah was one of the most lovable parts of the show, it was a beautiful reminder that foes can become friends and that friendship is something not to be taken for granted. Their duet ‘A Lovely Night (reprise)’ was driven by character and beautifully blended harmonies.

The stage’s design and set inclusions, developed by Anna Louizos, may be the best I’ve ever seen. The attention to detail, the functionality and the use of space was part of what made Cinderella such an easy show to love. Undeniably one of my favourite elements of the show were the costumes. It’s hard to maintain ‘realistic’ costume expectations when entering a show like Cinderella which is so famously built around stunning costumes. William Ivey Long masterfully created costumes that brought my inner child to the surface for the entire performance. The ballgowns are simply to die for and the transformations for Ella and Marie are executed to perfection.

The ensemble in Cinderella plays a large role in the storytelling, whether they’re guests of the Prince’s Ball, working in the Town Square or escorting Prince Topher through the woods, there was always a strong level of quality in each ensemble performer.

Many of the gasps came from the fabulous choreography by Josh Rhodes and Emilie Renier. Their restaging of the original choreography was the cherry on top of the entire musical. The dance numbers featured classical Waltzing, classical ballet and acrobatics. Each large ensemble dance was timed and executed by the performers to perfection. If any young performers are interested in seeing the importance of classical dance training put into action this is the show to see.

Dazzling performances by Daniel Belle as Lord Pinkleton and Josh Gardiner as Jean-Michelle. These two performers were entirely captivating and brought presence to every scene they were in. ‘Now Is The Time’ and ‘The Prince Is Giving A Ball’ were absolute stand out numbers and were led by Belle and Gardiner wonderfully.

Showcasing his impeccable comedic timing and stage experience was Nicholas Hammond as Prince Topher’s Lord Chancellor: Sebastian. Hammond’s embodiment of the character was brilliant and it paired nicely with Topher’s uncertainty of self.

Musically this production is breathtaking to say the least. Led by Simon Holt the entire cast showcased the most professional vocals I have heard in a long time. Orchestrally Cinderella was a huge success and a beautiful reminder of the brilliance live musicians bring to theatre.

If you’re looking for an excuse to dress up and be immersed in the magical world of Cinderella then you must book tickets before they sell out. This show is a gorgeous introduction to musical theatre for children and a welcome reminder to adults that dreaming isn’t just for children.


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