We all know the story of Cinderella. And we’ve all probably seen countless retellings of that classic tale about finding your Prince Charming. Soho Cinders relishes in that fact and holds the story it is inspired by to ransom, satirising its simplification of love and relationships every step of the way. Robbie (Joe Spence) is stuck in a complicated love triangle. On the one side is his Prince Charming, romantic partner and also strong candidate for London mayor, James (Christian Brodie). On the other is the much older and much richer Lord Bellingham (Kevin Hickson) who is wanting to escalate their ‘companionship’ to something much more serious. Needless to say, things get more than a little awkward. This rarely performed musical and its examinations of modern day relationships, sexuality, and the unquestionable influence of technology on them feels more relevant now than when it debuted in 2012 and Hessle Theatre Company deliver a strong production that loudly and proudly explores these themes.
George Stiles’ infectious original score is safe in the capable hands of musical director Ian Appleyard and the cast. Director Richard Foot uses the ensemble cast to great effect and successfully creates plenty of those epic, spine-tingling musical theatre moments. The incredible vocal talents of the cast bring the surprisingly catchy songs to life. A special mention goes to Georgia Wormald whose charismatic performance as Robbie’s best friend Velcro really sticks out, bringing buckets of charm and some beautifully handled musical numbers to proceedings. The Ugly Sisters (Gina Garton and Rachel Adamonson) also provide a lot of the laughs with their ballsy and often grotesque numbers that prove to us how delightfully naughty Soho Cinders really is.
Drag queen Mizz Gavinia Edwards promises to bring the theatrical power of a panto dame to the production, bantering with the audience as they take their seats before the show begins. Unfortunately, as the narrator, Mizz Gavinia is not given enough to do to in the script to really create an impact on the production and is occasionally undermined by some pace affecting scene change complications.
Soho Cinders doesn’t reinvent the musical genre but injects enough commentary about modern day sexuality to set it apart from other musicals. Hessle Theatre Company have created an impressive production that embraces the show’s edgy and raucous comedy whilst doing justice to the more intimate moments. You probably won’t see a glass slipper, but if you’re a fan of musicals you won’t be disappointed.