OPERA / Cinderella - Royalty, London WC1

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The Independent Culture
When Spike Jones and his City Slickers took an axe to Bizet in Carmen Murdered, it took a mere 15 minutes to puncture opera's airs and graces. Music Theatre London's assault on Rossini's Cinderella raises fewer laughs in three hours. The intentions are honourable: to take opera out of the museum by using a tiny orchestra, singers from the musicals and a staging built around contemporary obsessions. But the physical vitality of Nick Broadhurst's production is undercut by an embarrassing crudity which finds it amusing to call Tisbe and Clorinda, Titty and Clitty. Despite the democratic declarations, there is snobbery in the continual sneer at Magnifico's plebby accent and taste. Tony Britten's re-scoring for an octet sounds pale and uninteresting, and much of the singing is atrocious. There is a witty mad scene en travesti, and Jan Hartley Morris as Cinders shows what could be done if Music Theatre London wasn't continually patting itself on the back for its iconoclasm.