Theatre review: Cindermouse at the Little Angel Theatre


Cindermouse - Credit: Archant

This Cinderella tale for little creatures is very special, says Caroline David

The Little Angel theatre’s house cat is lost. Oh no it isn’t, it’s behind you and on it’s way to Mousetown! So starts the witty, warm-hearted and deliciously camp pantomime Cindermouse.

Featuring only mice as characters, the traditional Cinderella story is otherwise minimally adjusted: Cindermouse lives with her devoted and talented watchmaker father while the ugly sisters are her avaricious neighbours - daughters of the deluded, social climber Mrs Applecrumb.

A Welsh fairy godmouse makes a star turn and the ball becomes a beautiful set piece for circus tricks all performed by talented mice in an array of multi-coloured costumes.

There is also a mischievous dancing broom [my favourite] and a dashing Chinese dragon [my five-year old companion’s]. In true pantomime style, the ugly sisters wear an array of sumptuous costumes and outrageous hats that become increasingly preposterous as the story progresses.

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Directed by the illustrious puppeteer Ronnie Le Drew, who has operated multiple TV puppets [Muffin the Mule, Sooty and Sweep, Roland Rat], the content is confidently rumbustious but this is also a very classy show. The wooden puppets – designed by Lyndie Wright - have exquisite, innocent faces and the set morphs with ease from Cindermouse’s modest country home to a castle with a luminous blue moon hanging in the background.

While there is too much dialogue in the set-up, which caused some of the younger audience members to grow restless, once Cindermouse is on her way to meet her charming Mouse Prince, the production is flawless. Following some much appreciated audience participation around the shoe fitting scene and a picturesque finale, my young companion left the theatre singing the ugly sister’s lusty refrain ‘I’m going to a party, a posh, expensive party.’ Very special.

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