Fry gets in panto spirit at Old Vic

Published April 17, 2008

Following the success of the Old Vic’s first pantomime, Aladdin, which starred Sir Ian McKellen as Widow Twankey and ran for two consecutive Christmas seasons, the venue has announced a new panto for the 2007/08 season, Cinderella, penned by the wonderfully witty Stephen Fry.

This is the first foray into pantomime-writing for comedian, actor, novelist, presenter and director Fry, who is known for his wide array of work including acting in Jeeves And Wooster, Blackadder, Kingdom and the film Wilde. He is currently hosting the comedy quiz show QI.

“When [Old Vic Artistic Director] Kevin Spacey asked if I might consider writing a panto for the Old Vic I was about as excited as you can reasonably be at 10:00 in the morning in the breakfast room of a London hotel,” said Fry. “A year later I’ve delivered a script for Cinderella which I hope ticks all the necessary boxes.”

Panto-favourite Cinderella is, according to the Old Vic, a tale of passion, jealousy, cross-dressing, injustice, chocolate, madness, cruelty, ice cream, hatred, revenge, jelly, unrequited love, envy, tarts, forgiveness, music, laughter, hope, redemption and most important of all, love – the truest, purest true love that ever was. And cake. So much cake you won’t believe.

Fry continued: “I’ve tried to remember that for many of the children who come it will be their first Cinderella, their first pantomime and their first visit to a theatre, and that for many adults it will be their first return to pantomime since their own childhoods. Pantomime should be the beginning of a never-ending love affair with theatre. Oh yes it should.”

Cinderella runs at the Old Vic from 4 December-20 January (press night 9 December). Booking opens on 17 June. No casting has yet been announced.

CB