Beatrice and Eugenie the Ugly Sisters? Oh no, they're not... Row as 'cruel' Cinderella panto names its comedy characters after royal siblings
In pantomime lore, the two Ugly Sisters share a taste for garish clothes and a love of the high life.
But calling them Beatrice and Eugenie may have been a step too far.
A production of Cinderella, playing
at Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury, has attracted complaints over the
‘cheap joke’ of naming the sisters after the Duke of York’s daughters.
Ugly sisters: The production of Cinderella at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury has attracted criticism for renaming the traditional roles played by Michael Batchelor and Ian Smith, Beatrice and Eugenie
Writing in the Kentish Gazette, Bob
Britnell, a senior planning officer at Canterbury City Council, said:
'Looking at their photos, they don't seem ugly, just two pretty,
ordinary girls who get on with their lives without courting celebrity,
so why mock them?
'Sadly there are plenty of people out there willing to mock others for no good reason.
'What a shame our pantomime has added to them. Shame on the producers and shame on the theatre for not intervening.'
Just a joke: The pair in action in Cinderella
Mr Britnell, of Canterbury, said he would not be going to see Cinderella at the Marlowe Theatre because of the 'cheap joke'.
But show producer Paul Hendy, who also wrote and directs the pantomime, said Mr Britnell had been 'misinformed' and it was a pity he's written to complain without actually seeing the production.
He explained: 'The 'sisters' are indeed called Beatrice and Eugenie but the term 'ugly sisters' is never actually used in relation to the names and we never refer to the royal family at any point.
Princesses of York: Eugenie (L) and Beatrice (R) were flamboyantly dressed at the wedding ceremony of Prince William and Kate Middleton
'As a Royalist myself, I can guarantee there are no derogatory jokes about our royal family.
'In our production, our 'sisters' wear fantastically outrageous and lavish costumes and the joke is more of a reference to the self-confessed unusual fashion sense of the sisters' royal namesakes.'
'In pantomime, there is a long tradition of using the names of famous people who have been in the public eye that year.
'In our past productions, the sisters have been called 'Britney and Madonna' and 'Trinny and Susannah'.
'I'm sure Mr Britnell will agree that these are very glamorous women.
The pantomime is being showing at the Marlowe Theatre, pictured
'The real Beatrice and Eugenie famously have a wonderful sense of humour and I'm sure they would find this highly amusing.
'I firmly believe that pantomime should have a slightly satirical edge and gently poke fun at the great and the good.
'It is the broad range of humour that makes pantomime so uniquely British.
'More than 70,000 people have seen the show and we have been inundated with e-mails and letters saying how much people have enjoyed it.
'I do hope people will come to see for themselves that the Beatrice and Eugenie joke is a very small part of the show and is in no way offensive.'
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