N’s at that inbetween age where he’s getting a bit old for the pre-school type of theatre shows (or we’ve seen the ones we’d want to see), but isn’t old enough for full on theatre shows and musicals yet. Last year we decided that our local Mill arts centre’s Christmas showing was too old for him, but this year Cinderella and the Glass Slipper looked more likely. We were given tickets to go along to the show so we took N’s cousin and my sister in law with us too.
Creation Theatre are based in Oxford but I’ve never seen them, so I wasn’t sure what we’d be watching. It wasn’t a traditional panto but there was some interactivity.
What made it different was that it was performed in the round, with all the seating in a square around the stage. With front row seats it was perfect for children’s viewing although I’m always wary of being picked out in the audience.
N was really excited about being in the theatre. The questions didn’t stop the whole time. And when Jude (the prince) came around to the audience beforehand to tell us to keep quiet about seeing him, N wasn’t put off at all by him talking to us. Of course the question was why, but at last year’s Gruffalo’s Child show we saw, the mouse did the same thing before the start.
Creation Theatre’s performance of Cinderella was done with a cast of only 4 people. It’s amazing how they do it, with 3 of them playing 2 parts or more. While the show is mostly true to the traditional tale of Cinderella, N was most put out by there not being 2 ugly sisters, instead having a step-sister and brother instead. It did work really well though, and the stepmother was cleverly done by using a puppet and one of the performers.
Being a dancer, I couldn’t help but notice that the actress playing Cinderella’s mother/step-sister had a knee bandage on. She was brilliant in the roles, and I’m sure most people didn’t notice. I can only wonder what amazing shoes she might have been wearing had her knee been ok.
The way the story was portrayed did make me think that Cinderella’s father was a total weakling and put upon to have been tricked into marrying, but it all comes right in the end as fairy tales do.
Just before the end of the 1st half, N was getting restless so the break came at a good time for him. Ice creams in the break were a treat and there was plenty of time to stretch our legs before the second half.
N did do some colouring in the second half (I wasn’t too embarrassed this time, as there was another girl who was doing some all the way through the performance), but perked up when the Prince Jude started rocking at the ball. That produced a few laughs. Otherwise, we had commentary and questions throughout from him. His cousin wasn’t used to the questions so I think he found them a little annoying, but I generally find it funny as long as it’s not interrupting people around us.
The interactive nature of the performance was just enough during the performance of around 1 hour 45. A few people got asked up on stage (with a treat for those children), and the performers made themselves comfortable in the audience at points. The set and costumes worked well – Cinderella’s ball dress was lovely with a twist in line with one of her loves. It was a performance well done, just the right length and enjoyed by all of us. I was surprised at how young some children were in the audience, but no-one was taken out, and there weren’t any scary moments for N.
I’d definitely recommend smaller local theatres at Christmas and throughout the year. Ours is only small, but there’s plenty of dance, music, comedy and theatre shows for all ages, for a mere fraction of the price of large theatre shows. Plus of course, smaller means you have a more intimate performance as well. We’ll definitely be looking out for more family shows in future. There’s quite often pre- or post- performance talks, or activity sessions for children beforehand.
Did you see any theatre performances over the Christmas period? How do your children get on going to shows?
Disclosure: We were given tickets for the performance for the purpose of review. All words and opinions are my own
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