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Soho Cinders

“Uninspired revival of the stiles and drewe musical”

When musical theatre collaborators George Stiles, Anthony Drewe and Elliot Davis’ updated gay version of the Cinderella story premiered in 2012, its version of Old Compton Street and its environs already felt bizarrely rose-tinted and time has not been kind.

Drewe and Davis’ cliche-ridden script focuses far more on the far-fetched plot than it does on character development and the tone is all over the place.

Director Will Keith originally revived the piece in 2016 at the Union Theatre but not all shows improve in a bigger space. Adam Haigh’s lively choreography improves things occasionally, particularly in the Act I finale You Shall Go to the Ball. But Justin Williams’ set and Nicole Garbett’s costumes are simple, when a little magic is desperately needed. Even Michaela Stern and Natalie Harman’s outrageous step-sisters seem drained of colour, if not their vulgarity.

There are some sweet, delicately judged performances, notably Tori Hargreaves, as jilted fiancée Marilyn Platt, and Millie O’Connell, as Velcro. These sit awkwardly next to the step-sisters or the boo-hiss-villainy of Ewan Gillies as a conniving campaign manager.

Luke Bayer is pretty ineffectual as Robbie, the Cinderella of the story, though to be fair it’s an impossible role, but at least he redeems himself with a poignant rendition of They Don’t Make Glass Slippers.

Despite Keith’s efforts, there’s little in this production to paper over the cracks of the original. It’s even more disappointing that the diversity of Soho, though referenced in the script, isn’t reflected in the casting.

Amour review Charing Cross Theatre, London – ‘irresistibly charming chamber musical’

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Production Details
Production nameSoho Cinders
VenueCharing Cross Theatre
StartsOctober 24, 2019
EndsDecember 21, 2019
Running time2hrs 30mins
ComposerGeorge Stiles
Book writerAnthony Drewe, Elliot Davis
LyricistAnthony Drewe
DirectorWill Keith
Musical directorSarah Morrison
ChoreographerAdam Haigh
Set designerJustin Williams
Costume designerNicole Garbett
Lighting designerJack Weir
Sound designerAndrew Johnson
CastBen Darcy, Jade Bailey, Luke Bayer, Luke Byrne, Michaela Stern, Natalie Harman, Thomas Ball
ProducerAkt, Kyle Tovey, Starting Over Theatricals, Theatre Syndicate London, Will Keith
VerdictUninspired revival of Stiles and Drewe's problematic musical fairytale
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Paul Vale

Paul Vale

Paul Vale

Paul Vale

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