Te Pou Theatre, 44a Portage Road, New Lynn, Auckland

27/04/2016 - 30/04/2016

Production Details

A new musical being performed in the second week of the April school holidays. 

Cinderella is a new musical adaptation for children and adults alike. The book has been written by Michael Jamieson with music and lyrics by Blaise Clotworthy who are also directing and musical directing the production respectively.

In a far away kingdom Cinderella is living unhappily as the servant of her wicked stepmother, Frambuka, and her two ugly step sisters, Henrietta and Prudence. The Prince is being forced to have a ball to find a bride and Cinderella wants so much to go to the ball to meet him but her wicked stepmother forbids her from going. Come and watch this musical retelling of the beloved story of Cinderella and find out if she gets to go to the ball and meet the Prince after all.

Written, directed, designed and performed by Unitec acting graduates. Featuring Grace Augustine (Robert Bruce Agency), Ava Diakhaby (Karen Kay Management), Josh Booth (Johnson & Laird), Tyler Brailey (Robert Bruce Agency), Jessie Lawrence (Johnson & Laird), Holly Stokes (Robert Bruce Agency) and Tyler Warwick (Gail Cowan Management).

Cinderella has a running time of approximately one hour and is appropriate for all ages.

Te Pou Theatre, 44a Portage Road, New Lynn

Wednesday 27th April 7.00pm
Thursday 28th April 7.00pm
Friday 29th April 4.00pm
Friday 29th April 7.00pm
Saturday 30th April 11.00am
Saturday 30th April 4.00pm
Saturday 30th April 7.00pm

Children $12.00/Adults $16.00
Tickets can be purchased online from iTicket: 

The Cast and Crew of Cinderella proudly supports Starship Chidlrens Hospital with $1 donated from every ticket sold. 

Cinderella:  Holly Stokes
The Prince:  Tyler Warwick
Frambuka:  Grace Augustine
Henrietta:  Jessie Lawrence
Prudence:  Josh Booth
Fairy Godmother:  Ava Diakhaby
The King:  Tyler Brailey

Producer:  Michael Jamieson
Assistant Producer:  Blaise Clotworthy
Director:  Michael Jamieson
Musical Director:  Blaise Clotworthy
Composer/Lyricist:  Blaise Clotworthy
Writer:  Michael Jamieson
Costume Design:  Rhianna Crawford
Lighting Design:  Paul Bennett
Poster Design:  Thomas Strange

Theatre , Musical , Family , Children’s ,

Committed but compromised by staging issues

Review by Leigh Sykes 28th Apr 2016

The cast and crew of Cinderella are recent graduates of the UNITEC acting and technical programmes. I love the idea that this group has banded together and, as Writer / Director / Producer Michael Jamieson tells us in the programme, provided “a platform for fellow actors to perform.”

It is clear that the cast enjoys each other’s company and enjoy performing. The show begins traditionally, introducing us to Cinderella (sensitively played by Holly Stokes), her stepsisters Prudence (the energetic Josh Booth) and Henrietta (played by Jessie Lawrence, who has enormous fun channelling Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?), and her stepmother Frambuka (played with great energy by Grace Augustine).

The first scene does well in provoking laughs at the unpleasant antics of the stepsisters crowing over their stepsister about being invited to the Prince’s Ball, and we feel sorry for Cinderella as she sings to us about her sadness at being left out. Grace Augustine as Frambuka treats Cinderella appallingly, and does so with obvious relish. She plays her monologue to the audience for laughs and gains them, causing audience members young and old to laugh out loud at her physicality and commitment to being unpleasant. 

The audience is having fun, so the long scene change to the King’s palace puts a dampener on their spirits. Our short introduction to The Prince (Tyler Warwick), who doesn’t want to be King and doesn’t want to have a Ball either, suffers from some unevenness with the lighting and a lack of progression with the story. Warwick commits to his song, but is constrained in a small area of the stage, before we again experience a long scene change back to Cinderella’s house. 

This unfortunately becomes a theme as the show continues. There are some short scenes and some very long scene changes, carried out in blackout, meaning the audience is unable to keep its energy and investment going throughout. The pace of the show also suffers as the cast sometimes struggles with the logistics of a number of scene and costume changes with no stage crew. This comes to a head in a long scene with no characters in sight. We listen to dialogue from invisible characters and sense that the only reason for this is that the actors don’t have time to appear in this scene and still be ready for the next one.

These staging issues do undermine the energy of the show and make it rather jagged. There is no real smoothness to the flow of the show, and the cast has to work hard to get each new scene off the ground. 

Ava Diakhaby injects some energy and fun as The Fairy Godmother, and her interaction with the audience is welcome. She does her best to teach the audience her magic chant and is not fazed when it doesn’t work well first time. Her song has some complex rhythms and is quite fun, but it is very apparent that the song is there to allow Cinderella time to change into her ball gown. 

Cinderella’s story includes all of the elements we expect and one or two that we don’t, and is overall a traditional telling of the tale. There is a happy ending and we enjoy disliking the people who treat Cinderella badly. Sadly, the songs do not linger after they have been performed and do not really advance the action, so I am left to wonder what compelled the writers to make this show a musical. 

It’s clear the cast is committed to their work, but I am left wondering why they feel so drawn to this story and this theatre form. With the staging issues ironed out, this can be a solid, if unremarkable, addition to the family choices these school holidays.  


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