166 Drury Lane, London WC2B 5PW 020 7087 7750
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Re-opens 3rd February 2022.
NOT SUITABLE FOR THOSE AGED UNDER 6. THIS IS NOT A PANTOMIME. THE MONKEY WOULD ADVISE IT SUITABLE FOR AGES 12 AND UPWARDS AS IT DOES CONTAIN A FEW ADULT REFERENCES.
Step-daughter turned scullery maid, denied access to the ball until her fairy godmother appears...
The tale of glass slippers and pumpkins is given a new twist by Andrew Lloyd Webber, David Zippel and Emerald Fennell. Carrie Hope Fletcher and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt star.
Carrie Hope Fletcher is not performing on the following dates:
All Monday Evenings.
All performances on 23rd, 24th, 25th March 2022, 20th to 25th April 2022.
Cast details are given for information only, and theatremonkey.com cannot be responsible for any errors or changes to schedules or the non-appearance of any cast member.
(seen at the afternoon performance on 4th September 2021)
After numerous cancelled and changed dates (and umpteen hours avoiding reading or hearing anything about the show), the monkey finally made it to the ball. Worth the effort? Pretty much.
This one belongs to the cast. Carrie Hope Fletcher in the title role thrashes every ounce out of the music, comedy and dramatic relationship provided. The first time she has created a role in a brand-new musical and a new high point in an impressive career.
Nemesis and comedic foil Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as her Stepmother does likewise. An hilarious routine with Rebecca Trehearn as the Queen is a crowd-pleaser in act one as secrets and poison spill over at the palace. In act two, stepmother and stepdaughter stop the show with an exchange – Hamilton-Barritt ad-libbing in gratitude at the audience response.
Favoured sisters Marie and Adele (Georgina Castle and Laura Baldwin respectively) are so dim it’s probable they turn up in “Frozen” as often as here, just because they forget which theatre they are supposed to be in. You want to know what “Love Island” would be like as a musical? This is the answer.
Michael Hamway as Prince Sebastian is the ineffectual man who SPOILER ALERT gets the girl in the end. SPOILER ENDS. You’d have no idea he was simply covering the role for absent Ivano Turco, and the chemistry between him and his love were obvious as was their shared timing and rhythm.
Special note for Gloria Onitiri as The Godmother. Truly a female version of “The Godfather” her performance is huge, filling every square inch of the theatre with edgy magic and challenging the entire West End to build a show around her abilities.
Under Joann M. Hunter, the pulchritudinous ensemble move with grace and indulge in some witty village badinage. Pitchfork lynchings and old-fashioned fairytale dances go with an energy hard to resist.
Bruno Poet’s lighting is award material. “I Know I Have A Heart” telling the monkey that this is the space in which “The Greatest Showman” should see a stage debut – the potential demonstrated in a single perfectly lit number.
So, music and lyric and book... oh my... it’s a mixed bag. Having avoided all but “Bad Cinderella” and “Only You, Lonely You” before the show, the score was fresh to the monkey. Those two lodged, and there’s a few lovely moments with “The Cinderella Waltz” and “I Know You” as good a comic number as any.
The story sadly makes redundant mice and pumpkins, not a reference even, but manages to stay away from panto and throw in a very neat twist to end on. Emerald Fennell’s central conceit of a perfect village takes too long to establish but once past the first twenty minutes or so the time passes amicably enough, and the show does not outstay its welcome.
Irritatingly, David Zippel is not on finest form with the lyric. Too many obvious rhymes and not enough slick humour give the actors an uphill battle suggesting as the monkey began with, that they are doing the lifting.
An amiable if unchallenging evening with enough moments to engage teenage and twenty-something audiences for whom “Frozen” may be a little sugary. If not vintage Lloyd Webber, this will still keep the box office going for a year or two to come, concludes the monkey.
Lots of fun. Great performances from all of the cast. Left the theatre humming all the tunes. Enjoyable entertainment for all of our family, from youngest (9) to oldest (76). Many children may find the show a little long. Our young son loved it but he's a Lloyd Webber fan and knew the songs before we went. This show is aimed at adults and is quite crude in parts - all comical though.
"Stage is high - above head height of some in front row of stalls, though this row is set back from stage by about 1m. Side seats in rear stalls and circle restricted view due to the stage design. But most action front and centre. So more side view rather than lost view. Also one long scene where these seats have perfect view."
Daughter and husband went to 'Cinderella' on Wednesday 1st September 2021 for the matinee. We didn’t check and so didn’t realise that Carrie Hope Fletcher isn’t doing Wednesday matinees but I am told the other actor (I’m sorry, I don’t have her name - Georgina Onuorah, editor) who is playing the role on those performances was excellent.
They sat in the circle, D42 and 43, right in the centre. (Someone must have cancelled as we got those seats less than a week before.) I asked for a seat review for you and could only get out of them that the view was really good and you don’t miss any of the action, it didn’t feel too far away, the seats are upright which makes moving along the rows easier, and they didn’t notice any issue with legroom so presumably it must have been good. Oh, and the queue for the ladies in the interval was still really long …!
Having waited a long time to see this show (4 cancellations), the fear is always that the show will sink under the weight of expectation.
Cinderella? It stayed afloat.
I'll start with the story: We're all aware of the Disney version, I'm glad to say this show draws from there, but gives the story a modernist twist that is satisfying, dropping much of the saccharine (though I miss the mice, pumpkin etc. - perhaps not easy to fit into this reworking).
Cinderella is very much the odd one out in BelleVille ("The only girl that can't walk in high heels") - a town so lovely it has won the loveliest village award for the previous 49 years! She is still suffering at the hands of Wicked Stepmother (played with hammy glee when we went by Michelle Bishop) and atrocious sisters (Georgina Castle and Laura Baldwin: If Made in Chelsea and TOWIE were cloned, this would be the result - they're a hilarious double act).
Her one friend is Prince Sebastian - brother of THAT prince, who just wants a quiet, unassuming life away from the glitz and glamour of royal life.
They keep their feelings for one another hidden. But fate has a habit of getting in the way...
From here, the story takes a new direction, it uses the classic scenes (the ball, the glass slippers make an appearance, but in a new and interesting way), leading to a couple of new and satisfying conclusions.
In the first half, the pacing is uneven at times, and the music likewise (though there are strong songs, especially the two lead's solos) as scenes are set. The second half gets off to a spectacular start (I'll not spoil it here) and the pace here is much more even.
I was concerned at the portrayal of the Godmother as a plastic surgeon, but the storyline that grew from this was satisfying and the new direction worked.
The set is grand without being over the top (though oh, that 2nd half opening...), and beautifully lit. But this really is a show where the actors draw everything they can from the script and score to make it work.
Other than the performers mentioned above, big shout out to Rebecca Trehearn as The Queen - she invokes the spirit of Queenie from Blackadder with aplomb and her scenes with Wicked Stepmother fizz as they play off one another with gleeful malice.
Gloria Ontiri as the Godmother. Wow. Just incredible. Magnetic waves of power emanate from her, when she was on stage the audience were in hushed admiration and her applause a curtain call was immense and deserved.
Ivan Turco as Prince Sebastian. His first lead since leaving drama school. You'd not know. This is a tricky role; gentle and unassuming against so many over the top characters, it could get buried. But he plays it with gentle assurance (though, when he is called upon to push to the front he does it with a quiet strength).
And Gloria Tapp: 2nd Cover Cinderella... and making her West End debut just hours before our performance in the matinee. Brava to this young woman. Her performance was assured and strong, full of sass when needed, tenderness when called for and she nailed every vocal demand made of her. On this evidence she has a rich future ahead of her - her name on the cast list will have me interested in seeing other shows in the future.
Is this a vintage ALW show? No. It's a little up and down at times (and there is one song that telegraphs a later 'twist', shame as it's one of the funnier numbers). But it's fun, it gives the actors the chance to shine, there is a good mix of comedy and tenderness and a satisfying payoff. Which is what you're looking for from a (reworked) fairy tale really.
M70 and 71: Well worth the money. Very close to the stage, raised enough to make the view comfortable. Only issue is you're at the side of the stage so the actors tend to be projecting front and centre. But for all little stage geeks they're fun, as you can see the Orchestra "pit" up in the gods and you can see a tiny bit behind the scenes.”
Later visit: S54 and 55. The Gillian Lynne, being (a) a relatively modern theatre and (b) having enjoyed a refurbishment during lockdown gives good sightlines from pretty much anywhere in the theatre… once navigated the bewildering number of stairs (if you’ve seen Labyrinth, it feels like that, you climb endless stairs, only to find you’re not that far up).
Row S is a nice height and is on the same level as the door (which is handy for interval ice-creams). S54 and S55 are quite central, just a little to one side, but give good sightlines - they lose the tiniest sliver of the top of the stage, I can’t envision a production (except perhaps “Kiss of the Spider Woman”) where this could ever be an issue. The overhang from the Dress Circle does not interrupt. The rake is excellent; unless you get a basketball team in front you’ll not struggle to see over. Legroom is decent, cushion comfort is supportive and fidget-free. But for such a modern theatre, I did find the seats to be a little narrow - not uncomfortable, but more of a squidge - but my wife commented there is more than enough room, adding they’re amongst the most comfortable theatre seats she has sat in. Overall well worth the money, though if possible to get closer to the stage for the same money I would do so.
Cinderella, Gillian Lynne Theatre, July 2021
Seats, Circle Right, E22-E23, DJW
The seats are in the last row of the Circle, but you really don't miss seeing or hearing any action. The seats are comprised of a short set of 3, but they're separated from every other row, so it's almost like you have your own private box, with plenty of room. Getting in/out of the seats superb, as you're on the end, so don't have to bother anybody else.
Might be a bit pricier on a fully-seated performance, especially if it's the weekend, but certainly ones worth going for compared to the main block of the circle, as the price can jump up dramatically, for not much extra viewing experience!
The monkey advises checking performance times on your tickets and that performances are happening as scheduled, before travelling.
Tuesday at 7.30pm (no performance on 15th February 2022)
Wednesday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Thursday at 7.30pm
Friday at 7.30pm
Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday at 3pm
NO MONDAY PERFORMANCES.
Runs 2 hours 40 minutes approximately.
Theatres use "dynamic pricing." Seat prices change according to demand for a particular performance. Prices below were compiled as booking originally opened. Current prices are advised at time of enquiry.
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Monday to Thursday "Off Peak":
Friday to Sunday "Off Peak":
£25 Lottery: Enter online at: andrewlloydwebberscinderella.com/ticket-lottery/. A draw is made each Thursday (sometimes more often) for the following week. Winners can buy up to 2 tickets for their chosen performance the following week. If you win, you will be contacted within 3 to 5 days with a link to book the actual tickets. Winners are contacted via email. Entrants must be over 18, and winners under 16 must be accompanies by an adult.