Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Albuquerque/Santa Fe

Cinderella: The E! True Hollywood Story
The Dolls
Review by Stephanie Hainsfurther

Also see Rob's reviews of The Wind in the Willows and A Christmas Carol and Stephanie's review of Nutcracker on the Rocks

Erin Best and Sara Ryan
Photo by Russell Maynor
Our local drag troupe, The Dolls, gifts the community with a boisterous and original holiday fable every year. Cinderella: The E! True Hollywood Story joins the roster as the most family friendly and fun.

Fairy Godmother Jessica Osbourne (also co-author and co-director) and Buttons, general dogsbody (a likeable Joe Quesada), speak directly to the audience and urge us to talk back in this traditional British pantomime that relies on interaction. Certain other conventions of the British panto—double entendre, current affairs and name dropping, fart jokes, and a ghost among them—meld with audience response to create comfort and joy spiced with mayhem.

We are encouraged to hiss and boo the Evil Stepmother (Kenneth Ansloan, also co-author and co-director), warn against the Ghost ("He's behind you!"), and support Prince Charming's (Erin Best) efforts to win Cinderella (Sara Ryan). The prince's parents, played by Mauro Walden-Montoya (King) and Joel Miller (Queen), are mismatched in the best comedic sense (think Once Upon a Mattress). Jaime Pardo is a latecomer as he wanders in from another fairy tale and, in an abbreviated Snow White costume, flashes the best legs in town.

The Ugly Stepsisters, Lucretia (A.J. Carian) and Grizelda (Jay Kincheloe), are a comedy team themselves and tell the dirtiest jokes. But the language itself is not dirty, and the double entendres will not make an impression on little kids. As for the older ones, my 12-year-old grandson observed, "Grammy, I'm in middle school. I've heard much worse."

As always in a Dolls play, the costumes are gorgeous and a little nutty. Ansloan's ballgown and cape are magnificent, and the Stepsisters veer from low-cut frocks to glossy dresses to bunny slippers. The Queen looks as if she just stepped off the croquet court from "Alice in Wonderland." The uncredited Ghosts (we find out during a scene change that there are actually two of them) are suitably tatty and not too scary. Off Broadway Costumes in Nob Hill and Ansloan should take credit for supporting beautifully the quality and visual appeal of this production.

Cinderella: The E! True Hollywood Story veers from the established story only to treat us to British panto and its charms. Take the kids. It's a hoot.

Now through December 20, Friday-Saturday. 8 pm, Sunday 2 pm; National Hispanic Cultural Center, Wells Fargo Auditorium, 1701 4th St. SW, Box Office: (505) 724-4771, For more information about The Dolls, visit

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