Dan Chameroy (left), Paula Brancati and Adam Brazier camp it up for Cinderella.
CINDERELLA by Chris Earle (Ross Petty). At the Elgin (189 Yonge). To January 4. See Continuing. Rating: NNN
Only a Scrooge could resist Cinderella, this year's self-described "sillylicious family musical" from Ross Petty Productions. Writer Chris Earle has added more pumpkin to the core story and mixed in some ingredients from A Midsummer Night's Dream and even So You Think You Can Dance?
The result is a fast-paced sliver of a show full of jokes (some groan-worthy, others inspired) for all ages.
A Rihanna riff rubs shoulders with a bad prorogue pun; a Des McAnuff dig is followed by an allusion to a Cronenberg pic. And the drag outfits that the baddies don, courtesy of costume designer Erika Connor, could be part of a show called What Not To Wear: Fairy Tale Edition.
In fact, producer Ross Petty and director Ted Dykstra have cleverly cast the show to appeal to TV-watchers. Degrassi: The Next Generation's Paula Brancati and Jake Epstein play Cinderella and the Prince, while kids' TV host Patty Sullivan dons the fairy godmother gown. Sullivan's perkiness never gets smarmy, and Brancati's confident stage presence powers her through the show. But Epstein - he played the Dodger in Oliver! way back when - demonstrates real range, easing through his songs and at one point jamming on an electric guitar.
As the nasty stepsisters, bona fide musical theatre vets Dan Chameroy and Adam Brazier never play down to the material. Choreographer Tracey Flye's moves for the ensemble - especially during a speed-dating montage - are energetic and fresh. And the act-one closer will have kids and adults alike smiling with wonder.