Soho Cinders: Charing Cross Theatre, London
Reviewed 23rd November 2019
Soho Cinders is a modern adaptation of Cinderella written by Anthony Drewe and Elliot Davis with music by George Stiles. The show focuses on Robbie who is stuck in the middle of an illicit affair with aspiring politician James Prince. Soho Cinders is a modern tale, loosely based on Cinderella, focusing on diversity, acceptance and ultimately being yourself.
Luke Bayer plays the slightly naïve Robbie very well. His vocals match the love-torn character brilliantly and throughout the show you can sense the characters confusion and tension as the situation builds. ‘They Don’t Make Glass Slippers’ perfectly shows off Luke’s ability to show true character and dynamics, as does the brilliant duet with Millie O’Connell ‘Wishing For Normal’ which makes several reappearances throughout the show. The music, written by George Stiles, is very catchy and there are certainly some memorable tunes. The songs are often reprised and altered through the show and this works really well, with ‘You Shall Go To The Ball’ being a true ear-worm.
Millie O’Connell is brilliant as Robbie’s best friend Velcro. The confident, sassy character is well played throughout and Millie comes into her own during the song ‘Let Him Go’ where we finally get to Velcro’s true feelings. As mentioned previously ‘Wishing For Normal’ is excellently performed by Millie and Luke and their onstage chemistry is wonderful to watch. Another catchy song performed by the pair is ‘It’s Hard To Tell’ in which both performers get their chance to shine, vocally and choreographically.
The choreography in this production feels slightly lacking. Whilst the choreography by Adam Haigh is good there isn’t much of it. The show could definitely be improved by adding more dance sections in and perhaps using them to distract from the sometimes lengthy transition times and replace the awful narration. Will Keith’s direction works well and the audience do get to start to develop true empathy for the main characters. The second act being stronger than the first it does take quite a while to get going and fully draw the audience in. The use of a traverse stage is questionable – it doesn’t add anything to the show and seems more of a distraction than benefit. Unfortunately, during this performance the sound volumes were really low which meant it was hard to hear the performers and songs, particularly when they were facing the other side of the auditorium.
The cast are all very good in their roles and the ‘ugly stepsisters’ played by Natalie Harman and Michaela Stern certainly entertain the audience. They both prove they are more than just comedy though during the song ‘I’m Over Men’ where they get to show off vocally in true soprano fashion. Ewan Gillies plays the villain, William George, very well and even from the moment he steps onstage you know he will be the character we all dislike through the show.
Soho Cinders is upbeat, quirky and certainly funny. It is perhaps a little crude and crass at some points and there cant be many LGBTQ jokes and stereotypes that aren’t featured in the show, but it does have heart and by the end of the show the audience are truly on Robbie’s side. Soho Cinders runs at the Charing Cross Theatre until the 21st December and is worth a visit to see a modern, new take on the classic fairy tale story.
For tickets to see Soho Cinders playing at the Charing Cross Theatre, London until the 21st December 2019 click here.
Photo Credit: Pamela Raith