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Shawnee Theatre: Cinderella Waltz

"Cinderella Waltz" at the Shawnee Theatre is playwright Don Nigro’s wisely comic take on the tale that, as promised, mixes the Brothers Grimm and Monty Python. The best way I can give you a sense of the show is to simply run down the cast.

Cinderella, Sara Pavlak, is charmings as the sad young lady of the fairy tale, but she’s also much more human and with more dimensions than the girl of the story.

Her step-sisters, fetchingly named Goneril and Regan, are actually a bit nicer than those we usually see in the tale. Goneril, Laura Snyder, is actually a moody thoughtful self doubter. Regan, Rachel Mock, is quite cheerful and bubbly, if a bit dim.

The step-mother, Julie Dixon, is plenty nasty, but in such a comic addle headed way that it’s actually hard to really dislike her.

Dave Cole hapless as the hapless, mostly trouserless father.

Supporting the obligatory handsome Prince Charming of the Cinderella tale on his quest for a bride was Ben Gougeon. Playwright Nigro casts him as a rather large and very green Troll

Nick Foreman was quite perfect as the feather brained handsome Prince.

J. Allen Miller was the far from idiotic sympathetic Village Idiot, Zed.

An audience favorite was Terrence Monte as the fairy godmother, Mother Magee. Mother Magee sported a Marge Simpson do, clearly needed a shave, and seemed linguistically to come from somewhere around New York City’s Brooklyn or lower Bronx. She/he was welcome every time they climbed out of the family’s well.

No review of "Cinderella Waltz" at Shawnee would be complete with mention of the work of costume designer Tristan Raines. The dress for sister Regan made up largely of brightly colored neckties may well start a fashion trend, but it’s Cinderellas’s fetchingly plain dress that prominently exposes sections from the Bloomfield newspaper and then her strikingly graceful ball gown that upon closer examination features Walmart plastic bags which were the real fashion statements of the evening.

"Cinderella Waltz" does indeed follow the outlines of the traditional tale with a few extra characters and lots more laughs. There are a few spots where the audience had gotten a gag long before the players were finished fooling with it, but generally things moved briskly. The finale does have a happy ending, but it’s actually nicer and more thoughtful than the original. All in all, a lot of fun.

"Cinderella Waltz" directed by Drew Kopas plays Friday and Saturday at eight and Sunday at two at the Shawnee Theatre just south of Bloomfield.

You can find an interview with the show’s Village Idiot Zed, J. Allen Miller on our Arts Interviews page .

George Walker

After completing an M.A.T. degree in English at Indiana University, George Walker began announcing for WFIU in 1967. Along with regularly hosting classical music shows, he interviews artists and reviews plays and operas.

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