It starts rather slowly with a batch of woolly-hatted, goggle-eyed birds fluttering among the flat, barren trees, but once the story gets going it whips along at a fair pace, quickly despatching the heroine’s mother, then her father, until she finds herself perpetually scrubbing floors under the beady eyes of her step-mother and her prim and proper brood.
Instead of two ugly sisters, we get a gangly boy (a soft-hearted Tom Godwin) as well as a girl (Lucy Tuck) – though he, too, is forced by his scheming mum to tog up in a bright pink tutu in an attempt to snare the Prince.
Lisa Kerr’s gamin, no-nonsense Ella is a far cry from the usual mild-mannered Cinderella, the young man she falls for (Thomas Eccleshare in a frilly salmon shirt) is a bird-watching nerd with huge specs who, rather winningly, enlists much-needed audience help both to learn about marriage and in his search for the owner of the sparkly blue Doc Martens left behind after the ball.
And, neatly doubling as Ella’s widowed Dad and as his grim-faced second wife, Craig Edwards ruthlessly amputates several toes before finally meeting her just deserts in Travelling Light’s seasonal entertainment for all ages.
St James, 21 Palace Street, SW1E 5JA
Tube | Victoria
Until 26th January
£15.00 – £35.00
Image: Mike Eddowes