LESMURDIE resident Jade Gurney is hitting the stage as Ella when the Garrick Theatre kicks off its 2017 season with a darker take on one of the oldest and best-loved fairytales of all times, Cinderella.
Gurney said when Ella’s mother dies, she is brought up by her devoted and loving father who teaches her the names and calls of the woodland birds that surround their home.
“But when her father marries again, Ella’s peaceful life is turned upside down by a host of new and unpleasant relations,” he said.
“It appears her only allies are the feathered friends who roost in the trees, but they are no ordinary birds.”
Gurney said she was excited to stray from the regular conventions of Disney’s mawkish Cinderella.
“This is definitely not the Disney version of Cinderella,” she said.
“It’s raw and a little darker, with a great humour that makes it so much more fun.”
Award-winning director Robert Whitehead said this classic tale of fortunes reversed won a 2014 Off West End Award and was nominated for a 2013 Olivier Award.
“The Cinderella story in all its forms has been around for centuries and appears in lots of different cultures,” he said.
“The writers of this play chose to base their play on the Brothers Grimm version rather than Charles Perrault’s which is the one Disney used.
“The Grimm’s version is earthier, far less sentimental and the magic comes from the birds who are Cinderella’s protectors.”
Whitehead said while these days Cinderella was traditionally staged as a pantomime, and while there were nods to the pantomime tradition in this version, it was far more a ‘straight’ play.
“However, there is still music and song and audience participation,” he said.
“One of the challenges is keeping the balance of violence and gore to an acceptable level without disturbing young children, which is why it is not suitable for children under 10.
“We must remember that fairytales were not written for children but as adult entertainment and morality tales.”
Cinderella: A Fairytale kicks off on March 23 and runs until April 8.
Bookings on 9378 1990 or at https://www.trybooking.com/OIFY.