Review: Cinderella, Derby Theatre

Cinderella%20at%20Derby%20Theatre%20image%20#3%20Photo%20credit%20Robert%20DayCinderella Derby Theatre style is just what you would expect feisty and fun, full of festive sparkle and magic but with a contemporary edge which puts it in a class of its own.

Don’t go along expecting a pantomime with all the usual slap-stick and double entendre delivered by TV celebrities, this Christmas production, written by Mike Kenny, is polished and stylish and has more emotional depth than the versions we are used to watching.

It is not so much about finding true love as it is about realising that however low you may fall you are still worth something in life.

While we have the evil, conniving stepmother and mean and nasty stepsisters from the upstairs-downstairs tale of old, there is no fairy godmother with a magic wand to make it all good.

Instead Cinderella’s own mother, whose death led to the arrival of the wicked new wife, returns in spirit to guide her downtrodden daughter was she pulls herself from the depths of despair to a new life of hope and promise.

The tale is told from the perspective of the colourfully clad household rats who are Cinderella’s only friends – it is with them, back in the kitchen rather than the palace, that she celebrates her change in fortune in the show’s lively finale.

Cinderella is directed by Derby Theatre’s own Sarah Brigham, who has assembled a talented cast of actors and backstage designers for the season’s big show.

Former Derby High School student Esme Sears plays a delightful, plucky Cinderella and the strong singer, who is performing in her first lead role, certainly charmed the audience as well as her prince.

The rest of the actors, who all sing and play instruments, are cast as the pack of rats and take on other roles as they are needed.

Rebecca Naylor is suitably haughty and vindictive as the stepmother and the ugly stepsisters played by Stephanie Rutherford and Chris Lindon were an absolute joy to watch.

Playing the Prince is Jake Waring, who is also from Derby and who joined the cast under the Brian Weaver Fellowship which allows a local aspiring actor the opportunity to perform in a professional show.

The set is once again a triumph for the theatre – simply yet effective and perfect for showcasing the exuberant costumes.

The rest of the cast is Chris Price, Katherine Toy and Nicholas Coutu-Langmead. The Young Company are Tyanna Asafu-Adjei, Niamh Atkinson, Emma Balderston, Daisy Chell, Amber Child-Cavill, Molly Child-Cavill, Joshua Gill, Serena Madden, Bailey West, Alfie Williams and Freya Youngman.

The designer is Nettie Scriven, costumes are by Tim Heywood, the composer is Ivan Stott, lighting by Emma Jones, choreography by Kitty Winter and casting by Kay Magson.

Don’t miss out on this festive treat for all the family which can be seen until January 9. Go to for ticket information.

You can watch the cast in rehearsals here.

Amanda Penman