Francisco Shakespeare Festival
This new production of "Cinderella"
is more Monty Python than the Brothers Grimm. It features burly
"damsels" in dresses, a singing San Francisco supe and a robustly
off-key audience sing-along set to an old Neil Diamond tune. There's
even a classic Laurel and Hardy pratfall tucked in for good measure.
Director Allen McKelvey gives us a
high-spirited evening in the British "Panto" style with this
homegrown holiday show based on Stuart McKie's book. It features
traditional cross-dressing and outre comic bits where the framework
of the story is secondary to spoofs. The audience is expected to
pitch in, too -- hooting, hissing and occasionally singing.
It's a cross between the full-on
participation of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and clapping to
save Tinkerbell in "Peter Pan."
The standard storyline holds: Shabbily
dressed girl languishing in ashes is rescued by fairy godmother,
magically whisked off in a pumpkin coach pulled by white mice to
meet prince at castle ball and lose a shoe, thereby launching a
kingdom-wide search for the princess-to-be that stops just short of
pasting her picture on milk cartons.
The cartoonish elements that take
"Cinderella" over the top visually are costumer Derek Sullivan's
oversized royal chapeaus, with crowns the size of footstools, and
Leigh Henderson's stylized sets with skewed perspectives and
Surprisingly, one of the best vocal
numbers one night was sung by guest celebrity and San Francisco City
Supervisor Tony Hall, who did a suave version of the old doo-wop
ditty, "ShhBoom." (Guest celebs are scheduled to appear throughout
the run, including supes Tom Ammiano and Gavin Newsom, as well as
Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Chabon and KRON-TV sports anchor
Vernon Glenn.) (Pamela Fisher)
"Cinderella" continues through Dec. 22 at
the Ira & Leonore S. Gershwin Theater, 2350 Turk Blvd., San
Francisco. Tickets cost $19 to $26. Visit http://www.tix.com/ or call (415)