Cinderella, Cinderella, Comedy-Sportz. Bucking the trend of imbuing fairy tales, especially this one, with allusions to mythic journeys and feminist psychology, this interactive matinee gets back to basics: girl mistreated, evil steps, good fairy godmother, prince, slipper--you know the drill. The improv-derived script moves the story along while allowing the performers to take some amusing liberties with the characters. Lauren Bishop's dewy-eyed Cinderella plays straight waif to a larger-than-life stepmother (Matt Elwell, weighing in at about 270 and playing the role like a swarthy Divine), some butt-ugly stepsisters (Brendan Dowling and Joey Bland), and a vaudevillian pair of fairy godmothers: Heather Simms as poofy, bewanded Maggaline and Theresa Ryan as Frances, decked out in a practical pink running suit and silver sneakers.
The cast regularly call upon audience munchkins to clean the house, dance at the ball, and help the dim but sincere Handsome Prince Harry (Matt Larsen) find his true love. Their active participation and the simplistic treatment of the story make this a good bet for younger kids not quite ready to sit still and absorb complex plot twists and characters. Adults bring a different dimension to the show: at the performance I saw, one man got pretty darn excited about going onstage and brushing Cinderella's hair. The cast played off him well, adding to the fun.