Soho Cinders – with music by George Stiles, lyrics by Anthony Drewe, book by Anthony Drewe and Elliot Davis – is a charming delight, cliché-driven but that adds to the warmth of the musical. It is the story of Cinderella re-worked to that of a young pretty boy, Robbie, played with a real flair by Alex Stephenson. Robbie having lost his mother is told by his ugly step-sisters – played with a real commitment to their respective roles by Maria Waters as Clodagh and Michelle Bock as Dana – that as his mother left no will, they are the owners of the Soho Launderette, and if he does not come up with the rent he is out on his ear.
The sub plot is that he is being pursued by Lord Bellingham who is giving him gifts primarily to get him into bed; and uttering a wonderful one liner “I don’t rent what I can buy” showing a contempt and arrogance to people he considers to be below him socially. However Robbie is in love with London Mayoral candidate James Prince played with a great affection in the role by Jacob Botha and after the dramatic reveal in the ballroom scene, all their worlds start to fall apart.
Director Angus Jacobs has been so clever in skilfully pinpointing a moment in the script in which rather than Cinders’ shoe coming off, Robbie drops his phone only to be picked up by Prince’s fiancée, Marilyn, played by a very striking Caroline Hart.
Special mention has to be made of Kat Knight playing Velcro, this being the Buttons character comparison – whose vocal range and control is actually rather marvellous. The twists and turns including a great study in the art of the spin as executed by Paul Matania as William George makes the show very current.
The writers have worked into the narration, as spoken between the scenes by Michael Jibson, a satirical tone to his voice that is extremely funny bordering on the condescending which added a well constructed comedy element to the whole piece.
This is actually rather good; a new musical of the moment demonstrating that all people from all walks of life have value, and with a very supportive ensemble cast it makes for a very cohesive show.
Photos by David Ovenden