Cinderella (Myths Made Here)
QPAC, Cremorne Theatre
April 26 – May 5
Myths Made Here’s “Cinderella” is not about princes, princesses or even a step-sibling, but it does feature a lost shoe as result of our protagonist single, late 30s woman Ashleigh’s (Amy Ingram) startle at seeing the approach of an internet date. Ashleigh is certainly not your typical fairy tale heroine; she’s a bit of a klutz, though not in a neurotic Bridget Jones type way, but she has a unique charm. She’s a little insecure, sure, but also organised with band-aids in her purse and tissues up her sleeve… a real-world representation of one guise of a modern woman.
From its initial disaster, the evening of her intended date unfolds, after a stranger (Thomas Larkin) chases her to reunite her with her abandoned footwear. And so, as audience members, we voyeur their night together from first encounter through dinner and afterwards until the couple retreat back to her place for a romantic entanglement. Initially this makes for an unhurried narrative as the ultimately likeable characters navigate the awkward banter of favourite movies and dreaded dream recollections. Through the little looks and slight movements of their hesitations, we laugh both with and at them. Indeed, in this regard, things are not overplayed, but rather realised to their full, uncomfortable potential; while Larkin plays smitten moments to coy perfection, Ingram uses every aspect of physicality to show the anxious insecurity of her character’s second guess of herself and her potential new beau’s motivations.
Playwright Matthew Whittet gives us a very funny but real one act first date in all of its affectionate awkwardness, but also poignancy too as the inevitable midnight comes around. Certainly by showing rather than telling so much of its story, it presents as a story that is intimate and individual, but also universally relevant in its contemporary considerations, for this is Cinderella anew complete with themes of love, loneliness, loss and social anxiety.
The 70-minute romantic comedy is dynamic from start to finish, as is so often the case in Daniel Evans directed works, making clever employment of a revisit soundtrack of pop classics, vibrant lighting and smart use of its boxed stage space. While, as a two-hander, “Cinderella” may be more intimate than Evans’ other works, it is still entertaining and enjoyable, in a quirkily quaint way, with its talented two performers keeping the audience engaged for the duration of their evening’s emotional journey.
Photos c/o – Darren Thomas