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According to the dictionary a pantomime is “a theatrical entertainment, mainly for children, which involves music, topical jokes, and slapstick comedy and is based on a fairy tale or nursery story, usually produced around Christmas”. The team of Voila! Cinderella ensured that it met the above description to the ‘T’.
KD (5 yrs) had been all excited to see Cinderella on stage and I took full advantage of that, holding the show out as bait to get all kinds of little things done. Well, the big day arrives and it’s the first show of the production at Museum Theatre, Egmore, Chennai. We arrived very early (almost an hour) before the show as it said ‘Free Seating’ and yeah, we needed the front seats. For those of you who haven’t been to the Museum Theatre, there is sufficient parking and mosquitoes.
With Rs. 300 tickets we are seated in ‘The Pit’ and have a good view of the stage. The screen opens on time with an introduction to the pantomime by the narrators - ‘Police’ and a dhobi and a donkey, finally making way for the much awaited Cindy and her quirky step sisters, Stout and Doubt.
The storyline follows the fairly tale of Cinderella as we know it and then veers off with delightful twists and new characters such as Prince Charming’s best friend Prince Farming and the nefarious mischief makers Mojo Jo Jo & Professor. Just as the description given by The Little Theatre said, this was a tale of Cinderella like we have never seen before.
Some people may have expected a plain and simple enactment of a the fairy tale, but would not have been disappointed with what they saw instead. There was humour, good music, a few Tamil dialogues, a few Telugu words, a mobile phone, topical jokes and slapstick comedy. KD was too young to understand why this fairy tale of Cinderella had a donkey, a good step-mother (according to her, every stepmother is EVIL) and why Cherry (?) was a guy dressed as a girl. She obviously didn’t get most of the humour but waited for her darling Princess Cinderella. Mojo Jo Jo and the Professor were hilarious for the kids and Cherry was more for the older kids and adults.
The main cast were adults but there were a lot of kids involved and every single person on stage did an amazing job. I was very surprised to see not a few but many kids give their piece perfectly on stage with confidence. The dialogues were mostly clear and understandable and the entertainment factor was high.
The show’s duration is a little more than 2 hours with a 15min break, so please plan accordingly. In my opinion, it would be more suitable for kids above the age of 8 and the older they are, the more they would understand and enjoy the show. The costumes and lighting were good. Overall, it was a fun performance, entertaining for both adults and kids.
The Little Theatre's Christmas Pantomime has become one of the highlights of the Christmas season in Chennai and has played for 19 years to packed audiences at the Museum Theatre, Egmore. They also have workshops for kids every year at their Nungambakkam centre. Having enjoyed this one so much, I would definitely go for their next production.