★★★★ | Soho Cinders At The Charing Cross Theatre – “as a whole is undoubtedly a glorious fun night out at the theatre.”
Where: The Charing Cross Theatre
Review date: Wednesday 28th October 2019
About the Show:
When impoverished student Robbie becomes romantically involved with engaged London Mayoral candidate James Prince, his lap-dancing step-sisters become the least of his problems! James and Robbie’s worlds collide, forcing them to fight for their own fairy-tale ending.
Focusing on London’s most colourful district and mixing politics, sex-scandals and true love, Soho Cinders is a deliciously naughty musical update of the Cinderella story.
Encore Rating Factor:
Soho Cinders is the perfect 2019 fairy tale, very much for today’s young audiences. A beautiful balance of up-tempo tunes and heart-warming ballads penned by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, you are bound to leave the theatre singing the music for days.
Soho Cinders has a book by Anthony Drewe and Elliot Davis and features all the modern-day relatable references you could wish for, leaving you in fits of giggles.
The story follows Robbie (Luke Bayer) who has lost his mum who used to own a laundrette in Soho. This business has now been taken over by ‘Ugly sisters’ Clodagh (Michaela Stern) and Dana (Natalie Harman). We see Robbie navigate through complicated relationships with Lord Bellingham (Christopher Coleman) and the man he truly wants to be with James Prince (Lewis Asquith) who is running for city mayor and very much engaged to a woman, Marilyn Platt (Tori Hargreaves). By Robbie’s side in his chaotic life is his best friend Velcro (Millie O’Connell) helping him to see the truth amongst the lies.
Luke Bayer is undoubtedly one of the most popular young talents in the West End. In this production, it was the softer numbers that I felt showcased him the best, particularly the song ‘Gypsies of the Ether’. This wonderful duet between Bayer and Lewis Asquith made for a very pleasurable listen. In act 2 though we see Bayer give a vocal delight when he performs ‘They don’t make glass slippers’.
Millie O’Connell in the role of Velcro is brilliant, letting her powerful vocal fill the theatre, and playing a more understated ironic humour throughout her performance. It’s a wonderful side of her performance that we didn’t see in Six and shows just how versatile this woman is. I am very much looking forward to seeing where her career goes in the future.
A standout performance for me came from Ewan Gillies as William George, James Prince’s Campaign manager. He commands the space with real authority and he is sadistic and selfish. His numbers ‘Spin’ and ‘The tail that wags the Dog’ were performed with viciousness and sharpness, really turning the audience against him, which is the exact intention.
I have to mention Michaela Stern and Natalie Harman in the roles of Clodagh and Dana. They are the perfect comedy pairing, and you cannot help but laugh and smile when they are on stage together. They are ridiculous, absurd, vulgar and they make for fabulous entertainment. ‘I’m so over men’ and ‘Fifteen minutes’ were highlights of the show for me.
In terms of the direction by Will Keith, there were some brilliant moments of simplicity, such as ‘Gypsies of the ether.’ At times I really felt that is was over staged and that actors, at times were moving to suit lighting cues, however, there is no doubt that he understands the humour and love within this piece.
The production as a whole is undoubtedly a glorious fun night out at the theatre. Soho Cinders has a beautiful mix of songs, and a cast that is having a brilliant time.
There is no way you cannot leave without a smile on your face and a song in your heart.