There was magic at work on Christmas Eve this week when a little girl's real-life Fairy Godmother, with a little help from the Lyric Theatre in Belfast, made her wishes come true.
Little Eva McPhail (4) from Annadale in south Belfast, had one wish this Christmas – to see her storybook hero, Cinderella, in real life.
Her aunt, Natasha Higgins booked tickets for the children’s Christmas show, Cinderella at the Lyric for Christmas Eve and then contacted the theatre to see if her niece could meet the star of the show, Naomi Rocke.
“It’s her favourite fairytale and she was so excited about going to see the show that I thought I’d play her fairy godmother and grant her wish to meet Cinderella,” said Natasha.
Belfast actress Naomi Rocke said it is “a privilege” to play Cinderella. “She is every little girl’s dream,” said Naomi. “It is a privilege to get the role of Cinderella – after all she does go to the Ball.”
Cinderella is a visually stunning musical version of the classic rags to riches fairy-tale. Condemned by her ugly step-sisters to a grim life among the kitchen ashes, Cinderella makes some new, furry friends – Ears, Teeth, Claws, Tail and Whiskers. Yes, they’re a bunch of colourful rats who, when they aren’t hunting scraps of food, love to sing and dance and they are determined that beautiful Cinderella goes to the Ball.
The mainly local cast who double-up as rats and royalty include two actors from the recent Lyric show Pride & Prejudice – the Musical: Richard Clements and Christina Nelson, who also starred in last year’s Hansel + Grettel. They are joined by Welsh actor Michael Conway who plays Prince Charming, Orla Mullan, from Co Derry and Belfast actor Tommy Wallace (Molly Wobbly) who complete the dazzling cast line-up.
Set and costumes are designed by the very talented Robin Peoples, who brought the sumptuous musical Pride & Prejudice to life and music is composed and directed by Oliver Payne.
Richard Croxford, who directed Cinderella, said it is a timeless classic.
“Cinderella has always been a firm favourite for young and older audiences and this version written by Mike Kenny is a truly charming adaptation of the classic fairy-tale,” he said. “It has been given a lovely twist in that the story we all know and love is told by the rats who live in Cinderella’s house.”
Cinderella runs on the Danske Bank Stage until 5 January 2014. Tickets are £18 for adults and £12.50 for children or buy a Family Ticket for just £54 (1 adult and 3 children or 2 adults and 2 children).