Cinderella, a hip-hop tale of an illegal alien, at Bailiwick Repertory. Czarina Mirani’s feminist retelling vaults the Cinderella story into the mythical hip-hop kingdom of UKA, where the narrator raps the introduction, the prince leaves his graffiti tag on the walls, and battles are fought by break dancing. Cinderella (Mirani), who owns a hip-hop club, is an illegal alien about to be deported; the stepsisters are not her nemeses, but sexy, supportive members of her posse; the glass slipper is a sneaker borrowed from a drug dealer who’s perpetually high.
This fun, streetwise cartoon of a show is entertaining despite dismal acting (the exceptions are Joel Maisonet as the head of the INS, Boogie McLarin as a street-smart sister, and Otto “Juice” Horton as the prince’s rock-steady friend). Every character is a stereotype–the English-mangling Latino INS official, a pimplike club owner, a clueless white boy–but under Erica Watson’s direction the multiracial cast is funny, not offensive. “This is not Steppenwolf,” Watson announces before the show–and indeed the atmosphere is more dance club than theater. A DJ spins ear-splitting music (curiously, all by male artists), the stage smoke and obscenities come thick and fast, and the dancing is exciting, if not original.