CHARING CROSS THEATRE
(formerly the New Players Theatre)
SOHO CINDERS (musical)
Not suitable for children or the easily offended.
Ends 11th January 2020.
Celebrating London’s most colourful district and mixing politics, sex-scandals
and true love, ‘Soho Cinders’ is a deliciously naughty musical update of the
Cinderella fairy tale with an infectious score that you’ll be humming long past
the stroke of midnight!
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 in this hilarious, satirical twist on the
classic Cinderella story.
Until 22nd December 2019:
West End stars Luke Bayer and Millie O’Connell head
Hear them sing "Wishing For The Normal" here: youtube.
Luke was alternate Jamie in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Apollo
theatre and Millie ends her Olivier Award-nominated reign as Anne Boleyn in the
smash-hit musical SIX at the Arts theatre on October 13th 2019.
They will be joined by Lewis Asquith, Christopher Coleman, Ewan Gillies, Tori
Hargreaves, Natalie Harman, Michaela Stern, with an ensemble cast featuring Jade
Bailey, Thomas Ball, Luke Byrne, Ben Darcy, Laura Fulgenzi, Danny Lane, Savannah
Reed and Melissa Rose.
From 23rd December 2019:
Michael Mather and Livvy Evans are to lead the extension cast of Soho Cinders at
Charing Cross Theatre.
Michael Mather (Hades in the world premiere of ‘Mythic’ at Charing Cross
Theatre, JImmy in ‘Flashdance’) will step into Robbie’s “Glass Slippers”
alongside Livvy Evans (‘Motown’, ‘Ghost’, ‘Sister Act’) as Velcro.
Another addition to the cast and taking over the role of William George is Dayle
Hodge (‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, ‘Jersey Boys’, ‘Les Misérables’). He joins the
previously announced Hollie Taylor (‘Matilda’, ‘Betty Blue Eyes’, ‘Oliver!’) who
performed her first show as Dana earlier this week.
Continuing in their roles will be Tori Hargreaves as Marilyn Platt, Lewis
Asquith as James Prince and Michaela Stern as Clodagh.
The role of Lord Bellingham is still to be announced.
New to the ensemble will be Liam McHugh (‘Saturday Night Fever’, ‘We Will Rock
You’) who joins Melissa Rose, Luke Byrne, Savannah Reed, Thomas Ball, Laura
Fulgenzi and Jade Bailey who will all remain with the show until the end of its
The creative team is confirmed as: Director Will Keith, Choreographer Adam Haigh,
Musical Director Sarah Morrison, Associate Musical Director Joe Louis Robinson,
Set Designer Justin Williams, Lighting Designer Jack Weir, Sound Designer Andrew
Johnson, Costume Designer Nicole Garbett, Producers: Will Keith for Theatre
Syndicate London and Starting OverTheatricals Ltd in association with Kyle Tovey
for AKT Management.
Soho Cinders has Music by George Stiles and Lyrics by Anthony Drewe (the multi
award-winning writers of the Olivier award-winning National Theatre hit Honk!,
who also created a new score for the international smash-hit Cameron
Mackintosh/Disney production of Mary Poppins) with Book by Anthony Drewe and
For the monkey, it was love at first hearing for this show’s 2015 concert CD.
Catchy ballads and big production numbers, hilarious lyrics; characters jump
right out of the speakers. Thus it was delighted to see the first major London
production in almost a decade.
The great news is that sung live, the songs remain solid gold. Even better, the
Anthony Drewe and Elliot Davis book is a genuinely engrossing modern fairy-tale.
“Cinderella” in this case is an orphaned young gay man called Robbie (Luke
Bayer). He works in a Soho laundrette, sharing the flat above (both owned by his
late mother) with his ghastly strip-club-owning ugly step-sisters. His only
friend is laundrette assistant Velcro (Millie O’Connell). When the sisters kick
him out of the flat and raise the rent on the laundrette, life begins to
Robbie’s romances are no easier. In a love triangle with married London Mayoral
candidate James Prince (Lewis Asquith), and lusted over by George’s sponsor Lord
Bellingham (Christopher Coleman) things spin out-of-control at the Sponsor’s
Ball as ugly sisters gatecrash and Machiavellian candidate’s agent William
George (Ewan Gillies) manipulates things to his own advantage.
Performances are mostly strong. Luke Bayer’s Robbie grows noticeably in
confidence, delivering “They Don’t Make Glass Slippers” with feeling and leaving
audiences smiling when he finds his perfect fit. Side-kick Velcro (or “crow” –
for her frizzy hair) has a surprisingly small role, but Ms O’Connell works it
well, particularly in key duet “Wishing For The Normal.”
Best performance of the evening has to be from Tori Hargreaves as politician’s
wife Marilyn Platt. Superb timing and characterisation, and a strong voice to
match, she holds effortlessly the audience’s attention and sympathy -
particularly in some key final scenes.
There’s also nice work in smaller roles from Melissa Rose as bullied campaign
assistant Sasha (or “T” – as in “tea, two sugars”), and Christopher Coleman as
Lord Bellingham. The latter character works particularly well with Lewis
Asquith’s equally sleazy Prince.
Sadly, director Will Keith and choreographer Adam Haigh’s do have a real problem
with the transverse (audience on two sides) auditorium layout. “Soho Cinders” is
a mildly filthy, camp comedy with belly-laughs throughout, some big colourful
song-and-dance numbers, and several intimate solo moments. It begs for the
energy to be directed in a single direction at all times – impossible in this
The cast struggle too often to communicate fully their emotions, having to face
one way then the other mid-delivery. Dance sequences likewise are regularly
“mirror” events, limiting what both Haigh and the performers can do to interpret
Jack Weir’s lighting design tries frequently to narrow focus on a single
character with a too-large five spotlight style highlighting, rather than
mitigating, the fact that audiences can’t see facial expressions as the actor is
turned from them.
Biggest issue of all is landing the comedy. It was noticeable how jokes worked
only when the actors played facing each other. In particular, this hampered the
impact of Ugly Sisters Clodagh (Michaela Stern) and Dana (Natalie Harman), who
worked hard with fewer returns than they deserved, attempting to cover both
sides of the audience and centre stage.
It’s a strong show, but the monkey suspects this venue just isn’t the right for
it. Still, it’s an inventive and fun adult evening with great tunes and a tale
worth seeing. A grown-up pre-Christmas treat.
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