Cinderama – Review

KHA KHA KHA KHA

It gets 4 of 5 KHA’s.

Cinderama was a lovely and vivid play, easily the best I have seen at the National Theatre.

The play, which I wrote about last week here, was written by Efo Kodjo Mawugbe and had some funny and quirky details such as a storyteller who doubled as the Chief’s/King’s linguist or spokesperson and who switched between his roles with a comic “duty calls”. A prince who was studying in London and came onto stage with a hand luggage trolley. A main character in Cinderama who over all wanted to study “agricultural engineering” and who’s beads – not shoe – was left behind at the palace as an only clue to the one who caught the prince’s heart…

The direction of the crew of 16 by Fransesca Quartey was clearly successful in that the message came across (children have rights too!) and through imaginative and quick transitions between scenes (this is normally a problem in Ghanaian theatre). Also, I had to control myself to not shed a tear only 10 minutes into the play. We shrieked with laughter in other scenes. Well done!

Light and sound was coached by Technical Producer Tobias Stål and added a professional feel to the story. Afterwards someone said that the smoke maschine has not come on, well, we did not miss it!

Costumes were colorful and with that extra theatre glamour inclusive of glittering stones, gold threads and many costume changes by costume designer Fabiola Opare Darko and beads – which played an important role – by Kati Torda of Suntrade.

However, some scenes, particularly the one with the gravedigger was in local languages which left out parts of the crowd when others laughed seemingly without end. Throughout the 1,5 hours of the play the worst clichés were avoided, but towards the finale the fairytale ending became almost too sweet with Cinderama vowing to stay in Ghana to “help her country” and the prince nodding along. The interesting nuances in the evil sisters’ behavior earlier in the play were gone when curtains were drawn.

All in all, Cinderama is a heartwarming story.

And the best is yet to come, as the play now leaves the National Theatre and Accra and starts touring the country. I feel so glad many young people in Ghana will have the chance to embrace Cinderama and see family theatre at its best!

Ps. After touring in Ghana, the play travels to Sweden see schedule here or order your own performance here.