Theater Spotlight: Cinderella

Dan Norman

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Cinderella
Children's Theatre Company

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Whatever your reaction to CTC's Cinderella, you won't leave the show feeling that it lacked effort. With the casual regard for conventional storytelling possible only with a talented, veteran cast and a story everyone already knows, adapter John B. Davidson and director Peter Brosius jam-pack the evening with gags, shenanigans, and a controlled chaos that seems contagiously fun to create. Primary show-stealers are stepsisters Pearl (Dean Holt) and Dorcas (Reed Sigmund), although Autumn Ness's stepmother completes an unholy triumvirate. The three are constantly mugging, grimacing, and throwing themselves about with an unhinged and appealing shamelessness. Ness works the crowd with pop allusions (you try shoehorning a reference to Lady Gaga into a children's story), while the slapstick Holt and Sigmund play on just about every visual outrage possible via the casting of two middle-aged dudes in the roles of two young women. Maeve Moynihan's Cinderella is primarily called upon to react to the madness around her, though she projects a pretty elegance at the Prince's ball and credibly delivers a bubblegum musical number at the end. A production so apparently loose and offhanded (including a stuffed cow falling from the rafters and Ness's banter with conductor Victor Zupanc's head, which keeps popping up from the orchestra pit) can only work due to a high level of craft, and the dawning sensation that we're being offered a holiday diversion without pretense is a welcome one indeed. This Cinderella even largely tables all that someday-my-prince-will-come jazz, for although our heroine's role is passive by definition, Moynihan gives us enough pluckiness to be rooting for her two-dimensional self. Having or knowing children is all the excuse you'll need to check out the action. It's that time of year, after all, when all of us are going to turn into pumpkins at one point or another—best do it laughing. $20-$44. 7 p.m. Wed.-Thu., 7:30 p.m. Fri., 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sat., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sun.; Children's Theatre Company, 2400 Third Ave. South, Minneapolis; 612.874.0400. Through January 2

 
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