The story of ‘Cinderella’ is as famous as any tale ever told. But Falkirk Operatic Society’s latest show, ‘The Slipper and the Rose’ aims to wrestle it back from pantoland and return to a ‘real story of two people in love’.
However, that doesn’t mean stripping away the familiar elements that have made it such a powerful tale that has enchanted generations.
They are all here: the wicked stepmother, the Fairy Godmother, the ridiculously spoilt sisters – ugly by nature at least in this production, which is a Scottish premiere for the company.
The story revolves round a prince who wants to marry for love but faces the reality that royal matches are made for less romantic reasons.
If that all sounds a little earnest, it’s actually played for laughs by the ensemble, who create a charming comedy with a dash of drama and a sprinkling a magic.
Darren Tasker is jovial and funny – that he is charming goes without saying – as the independently minded Prince Edward, sparking nicely off his servant John (Andrew Gibson) while Suzanne Garner’s lovely Cinderella proves a worthy match for his affections, with a lovely singing voice.
And there is royal support, including a very funny Dowager Queen – played by Elizabeth Donald in her 34th show with Falkirk Opera – who steals a few of the best lines.
The rest of the royal party have fun creating the bumbling pomposity of courtly life, with spirited performances from everyone including Paul Clark’s Lord Montague and the King and Queen (Malcolm McNulty and Carol Sutherland).
Eric Brown was particularly good as the long-suffering Lord Chamberlain while the lovely Fairy Godmother (Shirley McNulty) sparkled in her role – despite the lack of glitter and fairy wings. Well, as she says, they’re not practical enough for a busy Fairy Godmother!
Lorna Wallace relished the role of the wicked stepmother, while Rachel Carter and Amy Sutherland really captured the spoilt spitefulness of the stepsisters.
Providing excellent support is the chorus who prove their singing credentials in a lovely end to the first act, while they are certainly put through their dancing paces for the ball scene scenes.
The songs were unknown to me but the lyrics are witty and fast-paced and special mention must go the musicians under the direction of Christopher Duffy who provided such effective accompaniment .
You can catch this colourful and lively show until Saturday at Falkirk Town Hall.