A CurtainUp London Review
This gender switch on the Cinderella children's story has two ugly brothers, no I mean Ugly Sisters, kitted out in the full animal print, Clodagh (Michaela Stern) and Dana (Natalie Harman) who run a strip club come pole dancing club across the road from the laundrette.
Robbie's comrade in the laundrette is Velcro (Millie O'Connell lately as Anne Boleyn in Six) a cheerful cockney girl, who like Robbie is looking for the ideal man. Cue song "Wishing For The Normal". The self effacing Robbie has an older man friend Lord Bellingham (Chris Coleman) whom he has met for dinner and conversation but Robbie doesn't know him except by his first name. Bellingham is very well heeled and offers to help Robbie out financially as the sisters keep putting up the rent and have kicked Robbie out of the house where he lived with his now deceased mother.
Robbie's prince is celebrity royalty, James Prince once a champion swimmer and now a mayoral candidate for London (Lewis Asquith). Prince's campaign is fronted by the spin doctor and political wheeler dealer, the slippery William George (Ewan Gilles). Prince has just asked his friend from university Marilyn Platt to be his fiancée (Tori Hargreaves) and of course be his arm candy on his mayoral campaign.
Robbie and James meet one night with the mysterious and evocative ballad "Gypsies Of The Ether" with its clever and delicate lyrics, "You are my intimate stranger, you are my faraway friend". It's worth remembering lyricist Anthony Drewe was responsible for some of the Mary Poppins lyrics with his partner composer George Stiles.
The invitation to the ball is courtesy Conservative Mayoral sponsor Lord Bellingham which Robbie gets along with a Prada dinner suit and some cash. Interesting take on the Fairy Godmother here as I've never thought of the Fairy Godmother with sexual designs on Cinderella! You can guess the outcome and our mayoral candidate has to choose between honesty and his political career as the Street of Shame will expose his affair with Robbie.
Like the original there may be happy endings but I was to question what Prince would have in common longer term with his laundrette owner, something I'm ashamed to say I've never questioned about Cinderella the scullery maid and her Prince Charming. Still it shows this cast in Soho Cinders must have suspended disbelief even though Lewis Asquith as James Prince seemed to me to be lacking in the necessary charisma and charm.
The redeeming of this show comes in Stiles and Drewe's beautiful tunes and the outstanding voices of Luke Bayer, Millie O'Connell and Tori Hargreaves. Millie O'Connell doesn't really have enough to do but what she sings is lovely. Velcro does bond with Marilyn in "Let Him Go". Luke Bayer's personality shines through and of course the Ugly Sisters are horrid.
©Copyright 2019, Elyse Sommer.
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