Charing Cross Theatre, London – until 21 December 2019
The arches under Charing Cross station have quite a place in any nighttime history of London with a world famous club, a pub, a kebab shop that never seems to close and a constant flow of people. It’s fitting then, that a musical set mainly at night in Soho has ended up at the quirky Charing Cross Theatre, filling one of the arches and home to many a show over the years.
Soho Cinders has music and lyrics written by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, one of the very best musical theatre writing partnerships. Such is their prestige that, with Soho Cinders and Mary Poppins, they had two openings in the same week. (That’s not actually a line from the show, but Julian Clary is welcome to borrow it for this year’s Palladium panto in return for my normal fee).
The traditional Cinderella story is followed fairly closely, but with a few modern updates. There’s a pair of Ugly Sisters, who pick on their poor step-sibling, a handsome Prince (a politician by the name of James Prince running for Mayor of London), and a procession of people competing for Prince’s affections. The twist is that the Cinders character is a young London lad, who also have a few people competing for his affections.
With such maestros doing the music the show works best for the singing bits and not quite so well during the talking bits. But the cast can certainly sing. Luke Bayer takes on the lead role following a spell understudying the Jamie role in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie alongside Millie O’Connell who was recently one of the Queens in Six.
The songs include some silly panto type fun, but there’s many top notch musical theatre ballads during the night, including ‘They Don’t Make Glass Slippers’. Once you’ve heard ‘You Shall Go To The Ball, Cinderella’ you’ll think a) why didn’t anyone write that tune before and b) how on Earth will you ever get that ear worm out of your head.
This show is the first major panto-ish show opening in London this year, and runs right up until Christmas. If you do go this ball you’ll enjoy it…