REVIEW: Peter Duncan’s streamed Cinderella

Brian Butler December 21, 2021

In the Summer of 2020, as theatres were closed, actor/writer/director and Blue Peter icon Peter Duncan decided to produce a different kind of pantomime: one on film that could be streamed to people’s homes from the garden of his South London abode.

He couldn’t have envisaged how successful Jack and the Beanstalk would be, and it ended up being screened in cinemas across the UK and to 2,500 schools and other groups.

So here we are again – oh yes we are – in Peter’s garden and house plus other locations for the 2021 offering of Cinderella. Opening with a bouncy, feisty fairy godmother ( Sarah Moss), who entreats us to “ open your heart, widen your eyes”, we’re on our jolly way to a bumper helping of festive fun.

In the title role, Lucy-Jane Quinlan has a clear, bright, pleasing singing voice, backed by a talented young ensemble of singers/dancers. Ian Talbot is the down-on-his-luck Baron Hardup, whose daughters from his second marriage are about to arrive – he believes to “ bestow fortunes”, but actually to try and swindle him out of his.

Duncan is Billy Eyelash and his sister is Ariana Shande ( pronounced Shandy) played to perfection by Adam Price. They are deliciously evil. Bringing us up to date we get a rapping Buttons (Henry Roadnight) who is a bit of an idiot-no sorry, a lot of an idiot, but endearing with it, and of course secretly in love with Cinders.

No royal palace in this version but the Prince (Sam Ebenezer), invites all and sundry to a festival in the nearby forest. The Prince has a dark edge to him in this version and as he tells us:” I may be charming, but I’m not necessarily sincere”. Accompanied by his equally camp assistant Dandini ( Miguel Angel), they delight and surprise with their gutsy singing.

The production pulls out lots of stops for the depiction of the festival, complete with a fire-eater and special effects in the forest. When Cinders runs away at midnight, as the story requires, there’s more than a nod to the same scene in Sondheim’s Into The Woods.

Panto traditions abound – there’s scope for you to boo and hiss at your screen and to yell the normal requirements behind you, and now he isn’t etc. And there’s a wonderful homage to Laurel and Hardy – Duncan’s heroes – in a marvellous slapstick wallpapering scene with lots of good to be thrown around.

Altogether it’s a hoot, and as theatres are sadly closing their doors yet again this Christmas, it may be your best chance to get some seasonal cheer.

Cinderella is showing in cinemas and is also available to stream at