Raleigh Little Theatre’s (RLT) whimsical production of Cinderella in the Cantey V. Sutton Theatre added the spirit of the Holiday season to an unseasonably warm day on December 9, 2012. Based on Charles Perrault’s fairytale, with adaptations of lyrics and music by Jim Eiler and Jeanne Bargy, and under the direction of Haskell Fitz-Simmons, the actors and production staff combine song, dance, sparkle, comedy, and romance into a delightful hour-and-a-half performance pleasing children and adults alike.
The first scene, which combined the men’s and women’s ensembles, began the show with great cheer. The choreographed jousting and clog dances were accomplished with great ease and the visual appeal of the brightly colored costumes completed the ensemble. As the scene comes to a close, Kibbles and Bits (Mark Taranto and Eric Wilbanks), the helpers of Fairy Godmother (Sarah Winters), summon the goodhearted, quirky fairy to go over a list of the people most in need of their assistance. Winter, Taranto, and Wilbanks make a hilarious trio of silliness, keeping their energy high throughout the entire show.
As the audience travels deeper into the world of eccentric characters and romance, the hideous and wonderfully humorous stepsisters, Henrietta and Gertrude (Tim Cherry and Dennis Poole), take the original story’s whiny sisters and add an excellent dash of amusement with their overgrown hair and wardrobe, which looks closely related to a dressed turkey and a pumpkin. Henrietta and Gertrude, accompanied by their Step Mama (Wendy De Munk), lighten the initial terror and add a brightened sense of joviality. This bumbling trio brought outstanding color and comedy to this production.
As Cinderella, Sarah Gordon portrayed a girl rising from oppression, conveying hurt and perseverance to the audience. After Cinderella’s transformation, Gordon made a beautiful princess and captivated the eyes of all the young girls. Jon Skinner, playing Cinderella’s Prince Charming, delighted the audience with his voice, heartfelt ballads and persistence to find the lost enchanted princess.
Cinderella would not have been possible without the production staff and crew. Scenic Designer Thomas Mauney created detailed designs that only enhanced the acting on stage. Vicki Olson’s costume designs added an often hilarious touch and a beautiful array of colors on stage. Cailen Waddell’s lighting helped create a magical feel to all of Fairy Godmother’s spells, as did Todd Houseknecht’s sound effects. The music added simple accompaniment to the actors’ voices.
With a flick of the wrist and a wave of the wand, RLT delivered yet another outstanding show, this one bringing Christmas cheer to all of the eager parents and children in the audience.
Cinderella continues through December 16. For more details on this production, please view the sidebar.