|Alice Bridges as Cinderella|
Cinderella. Everyone knows the story, don’t they? The most familiar version beloved by Disney and Christmas Pantomime audiences everywhere is based on Perrault’s ‘Cendrillon’, There is a pumpkin, a Fairy Godmother and a glass slipper. But Sondheim and Lapine have turned to the Grimm Brothers’ much darker version of the tale. 'Aschenputtel' ('Cinderella') doesn’t receive help from a fairy-godmother but from the birds and the wishing tree that grows on her mother's grave. Her slipper is gold and her sisters chop bits off their toes and heels in order to cram their feet into the bloody shoe. Because of their cruelty, Cinderella’s friends the birds peck their eyes out at the wedding as a punishment. As the story is their story as well as Cinderella’s, should we really expect a ‘happy ever after’? Traditionally told tales often end with this conventional tag-line: ‘And they all lived happily ever after’. It is a storytellers’ tool to let listeners know the story is over and to bring them back to earth and everyday life.
‘They lived happily ever after’ may signal the end of the story, but it is not the end of the tale of the character’s lives, as Sondheim and Lapine show us when Cinderella’s life with the Prince starts to unravel. Is the Prince and the Palace really what she wanted? Didn’t she really just want to go to the Festival and dance? Are her stepmother and sisters really so wicked? Should they be put out of their misery when a rampaging Giant arrives?
Be careful what you wish for because wishes can come true and they don’t come free.
|Cinderella and her Prince|
Join us in the Woods – book your tickets now via the Queen Mother Theatre or by clicking on the link on the top right of this page.
Into the Woods
8th – 11th
Queen Mother Theatre, Hitchin
All photos © PBGS
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