Midnight’s Pumpkin @ BAC

Having a ‘Kneehigh’ has become synonymous in theatre with dancing, laughing and lots and lots of participation. Their Christmas show invites the audience to delve into their fancy dress box and ready themselves for a fairy-tale ball (equipped with a few new dance moves). The tale of Cinderella has never been so sparkling.

The show’s Chorus, is the self-recognised star of the show, the eponymous Pumpkin. Along with his congress of Mice, he supports the heroine ‘Midnight’ (as Cinders is called) and sees her transformation from rags to riches. His character seems curiously like Shakespeare’s Prospero from The Tempest, affirmed by his claiming the closing epilogue of the play with a similar affirmation to ‘o’erthrow’ his magical career.

Midnight's Pumpkin, at Battersea Arts Centre, London.

Audrey Brisson is ‘Midnight’ and her singing, dancing, acrobatic flying spectacle is representative of the reams of talent that Kneehigh exhibits in each of their transartistic performances. The live musicians on stage make this a homely affair and gives it the magic touch of intimacy.

Yet ‘Midnight’ although stunningly elegant, remained to be the same passive and rather boring girl that always betrays the story of Cinderella. I whispered to my friend as we watched the show ‘I’d love to play one of the sisters’, to which he muffled back the same. They were loud, quirky, sexy and outrageous just what we have come to admire in our modern woman. The Prince also was given a modern sprucing. No longer the noble character he once was, he is now a conceited, metrosexual bafoon, who was the source of most of the humour of the play. Why would Midnight ever want to marry him?

Although the show seems to gibe at the conventions of fairytale, it does not go as far as to overthrow it completely. We end with the Royal Wedding and a Daughter who is given permission to party all night, which is extended to the audience who then take the dance floor. Children are chasing balloons around in dizzying circles and adults are testing out their spaghetti limbs. You are left with an infectious atmosphere of fun and jolliness and walk away feeling well exercised and closer to the Christmas spirit of good-will.

The show continues at BAC into the New Year and finishes January 13th 2013, with a special discounted week 18th-21st. Use the code STANDARD.

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