Tag Archives: Imelda Warren-Green

A Very Very Bad Cinderella


The Other Palace



“Neil Hurst and Jodie Prenger’s writing is wild and lewd but is equally sharp, and intelligently plays with words”

If you’ve been in the news this year, or are a showbiz personality of any sort, or even merely a major player in a current West End musical, you should be advised to steer clear of “A Very Very Bad Cinderella”. Unless you’re some sort of masochist. None of the above escapes the scattershot onslaught of bawdy jokes and devil-may-care references that are loaded into this most unseasonal of seasonal pantomimes. Thrown out into the audience like sweets, not everyone will catch the in-jokes, and a great many go over our heads.

The musical theatre world is well and truly ransacked. The main casualty that lies in its wake is political correctness. Despite the obligatory use of a snow machine at this time of year, this is not a show for snowflakes. It doesn’t take itself seriously, and the audience are invited (no – make that ‘forced’) to follow suit. To say that this is an ‘alternative’ take on ‘Cinderella’ is a bit of an understatement. Okay, it’s hanging onto the basic plotline for dear life, and the stock characters are there – we have Cinderella, of course, and Buttons and Prince Charming. But gone are the Disney, cutesy names for the ‘Ugly Sisters’; instead, we have Fanny and Vajayjay. You can see where this is going now?

May Tether plays Cinderella, and like the show’s title itself, is channelling a certain other Cinderella who also acquired the prefix ‘bad’. The whole show is a parody, and Tether lampoons with affection and with tongue in cheek. Although the script advocates that tongues are destined for rather more unsavoury parts of the anatomy. Yes, it is that sort of show. That is not a dig, however. Neil Hurst and Jodie Prenger’s writing is wild and lewd but is equally sharp, and intelligently plays with words. We are occasionally reminded of the likes of the Two Ronnies, for example, particularly during a very clever soliloquy in which the titles of every well-known musical are strung together to form a witty and breathless anecdote.

Keanna Bloomfield switches between Buttons and Prince Charming, drawing attention to the writers’ neglect in allowing for costume changes. Budgetary constraints and the producers’ limitations and lack of foresight are also frequently shared with the audience. Maybe spread a little too thin, but the comedy is thickened if you are acquainted with the behind-the-scenes machinations of theatre in all its variety. Genres are crossed with gay abandon as the ‘Ugly Sisters’ lead us headlong into the world of Cabaret and Drag. A captivating duo they are the wicked Queens of the night. Veronica Green’s Fanny is deliciously spicy (I never, ever thought I’d be writing that in a review). Matched by Imelda Warren-Green’s pouting, sourpuss Vajayjay (come on now, concentrate!), the self-declared ‘fab-u-lous’ pair are a comic act that draw the biggest laughs. If the show were to be streamed for general release you wouldn’t catch much of what is said due to the number of censoring beeps required.

There is a narrative thread, just in case we can’t keep up, provided by an uncredited, on-screen presence whose deadpan delivery alludes to the show being ‘very very bad’ indeed. Yes – it is ‘bad’ and ‘wicked’ and ‘sick’. But these are all huge compliments if you’re referring to the urban dictionary. It is a very very fun night out. Prepare to be offended and delighted in equal measure. Oh, and be wary of where you sit, unless the idea of wearing a face mask pulled out from Fanny’s undergarments appeals to you. There – that should get you scrolling for the booking page if nothing else.


Reviewed on 6th December 2023

by Jonathan Evans

Photography by Danny Kaan


Previously reviewed at this venue:

Trompe L’Oeil | ★★★ | September 2023
Dom – The Play | ★★★★ | February 2023
Ghosted – Another F**king Christmas Carol | ★★★★★ | December 2022
Glory Ride | ★★★ | November 2022
Millennials | ★★★ | July 2022

A Very Very Bad Cinderella

A Very Very Bad Cinderella

Click here to see our Recommended Shows page


Little Miss Sunshine

Arcola Theatre

Little Miss Sunshine

Little Miss Sunshine

Arcola Theatre

Reviewed – 1st April 2019



“Mehmet Ergen directs the show with a freshness and inventiveness that allows the versatile and talented cast to sparkle”


What a treat this is. Turning a successful film into a stage musical isn’t an easy task, but this production by Selladoor manages it wonderfully. The story is true to the original and if you are wondering how the small Arcola stage can accommodate a VW van, a motel, a hospital and a Beauty Pageant, go and see it purely for the ingenuity of David Woodhead’s design.

This is one of those evenings at the theatre that has the audience buzzing and leaving the theatre with huge smiles. Some will also have a tune in their head, as there are some truly memorable songs (William Finn) in the show. The cast are excellent; this is a real ensemble piece where everyone gets a chance to shine, even those with smaller roles, such as Imelda Warren-Green who personified the old adage that there is no such thing as a small part with hilarious performances as Linda and Miss California.

For those not familiar with the film (written by  Michael Arndt), the story is about the Hoover family; a rather dysfunctional tribe, who drive from New Mexico to California so that their daughter Olive can enter a children’s beauty pageant. Olive, played this evening by Sophie Hartley Booth was the heart and soul of the show. She was hilarious, sweet and utterly captivating. Her performance in the talent competition brought the house down. Three other children, Ellicia Simondwood, Yvie Bent and Elodie Salmon played the Mean Girls, both the voices in Olive’s head that tell her she isn’t good enough and the other competitors in the beauty pageant. And delightfully mean they were.

The rest of the family each have their problems. Paul Keating played Frank, the gay uncle who has unsuccessfully tried to kill himself, with a gentle sureness of hand. Gary Wilmot’s scandalous grandpa is living on the sofa. He loves to shock, yet has real warmth and Wilmot brought a gorgeous tongue in cheek style to the role. Sev Keoshgerian managed to be very funny, characterful and convincing as Dwayne, Olive’s brother, even during the majority of the show when he doesn’t say a word. The parents, Richard and Sheryl, played by Gabriel Vick and Laura Pitt-Pulford are broke and struggling. Gabriel is optimistic about his ‘ten point plan for success,’ and expecting a book deal that never comes, but despite all the setbacks and obstacles, the family are determined to get Olive to the pageant. Pitt-Pulford sang ‘Something Better Better Happen’ with such genuine emotion that it brought a tear to the eye, and Vick’s ‘What You Left Behind’ was powerful and touching. They felt like a real family, each individually falling apart but coming together in the face of their difficulties; pushing the van to get it started, determined to finish the journey.

The two other cast members are Ian Carlyle and Matthew McDonald, who both take on a couple of contrasting roles. Carlyle is outrageously loud as the wonderfully dreadful pageant host, and equally good as the man who stole Frank’s lover. McDonald also convinces, both as the ex-lover and as the long suffering technical guy at the pageant.

Mehmet Ergen directs the show with a freshness and inventiveness that allows the versatile and talented cast to sparkle. There is a stunning live band above the stage (Musical Director Arlene McNaught) that perform their hearts out for every number. The perfect package is completed with great sound (Olly Steel) and lighting (Richard Williamson) throughout and some excellent choreography (Anthony Whiteman).

If Little Miss Sunshine gets a West End transfer, and it deserves to get one, I will be happy to say that I saw it in this smaller, more intimate space. Do go, if you can. The whole thing is a joy.


Reviewed by Katre

Photography by Manuel Harlan


Little Miss Sunshine

Arcola Theatre until 11th May


Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
The Parade | ★★★ | May 2018
The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives | ★★★★★ | June 2018
The Rape of Lucretia | ★★★★ | July 2018
Elephant Steps | ★★★★ | August 2018
Greek | ★★★★ | August 2018
Forgotten | ★★★ | October 2018
Mrs Dalloway | ★★★★ | October 2018
A Hero of our Time | ★★★★★ | November 2018
Stop and Search | ★★ | January 2019
The Daughter-In-Law | ★★★★★ | January 2019


Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com