Soho Cinders by Sedos
Soho Cinders is a musical I have wanted to see for a long time having fallen in love with the soundtrack some time ago. I was thrilled to hear that Sedos were putting on this show and I finally saw it on Wednesday night.
Soho Cinders is set on Old Compton Street and is based on the classic tale of Cinderella, except Cinderella (Robbie) is gay and his Prince Charming (James Prince) is running for Mayor of London and engaged to Marilyn Platt. On top of this Robbie is taking money from Lord Bellingham for dates. Robbie’s step-sisters are Clodah and Dana who, after the death of his mother, are determined to take everything from him including the launderette that he runs with his best friend Velcro.
The music and lyrics by Stiles & Drewe are the highlight of this musical. There is a great range of songs within the show, including ballads such as ‘They Don’t Make Glass Slippers,’ and comedy numbers such as ‘I’m so Over Men.’ The 5 piece band, lead by Ryan Macaulay did justice to the varied score.
I did find that it was unclear as to what the show was trying to be, there were pantomime elements with the step-sisters taking on what would normally be the role of the dames. Whilst they were played by women, their costumes were larger than life and their characters were 2D. Clodagh and Dana were played by Maria Walters and Michelle Block and they certainty filled the brief, unashamedly picking their thongs out of their butt cracks and chatting up the front row with a lot of glee. They certainly brought the fun element to the show and I soon forgot to care about their lack of character development.
Other moments were more emotionally charged however it felt difficult to invest in the characters due to some of the pantomime elements and some lacking character development. Lord Bellingham played by David Pearson, for example suffered from this.
Prince was played by Jacob Botha, whilst he came across as sincere he needed a little more oomph and charisma to believe he was a serious contender for London mayor.
Some other characters had more depth. I particularly enjoyed the character of Marilyn Platt played by Caroline Hart. The role could fade into the background but Hart had a lovely stage presence and held herself perfectly as the Prince’s fiance. Another character with lovely development and depth was Robbie, played by Alex Stephenson. He had a great cheeky chap feel to him and you warmed to him quickly. There is a danger with that role of playing it overtly camp and distracting from some of the warmth of the story but Stephenson trod this fine line well.
Velcro was played by Kat Knight. Her voice was well suited to the role, in particular during Wishing For The Normal. It was also many of her scenes, either with Robbie or even Marilyn that really helped draw the character out and despite some hammy lines she did so really naturally.
At times some of the choreography or direction felt a little contrived. At times there were big dance routines when what it really needed was character instead of jazz hands, tits and teeth. There was also an odd Par De Deux during Robbie & Prince’s duet which distracted from the story. Some of the directorial choices were odd, for example during ‘Glass Slippers.’ Robbie danced with a pair of women’s heels. It would have made a lot more sense if he was dancing with a pair of men’s shoes, allbeit covered in silver glitter to make the Cinderella point.
The set was made up of 2 simple levels however there were some lovely touches such as the bubbles coming from the washing machine and the rainbow colour lighting on the stairs.
Soho Cinders by Sedos, despite not being sure where it fits is a fun night out, a modern fairytale story that just shows you don’t have to be a Princess to get your Prince, but being a Queen might help!!
Soho Cinders is playing at the Bridewell Theatre until 13th July. For more information about the show and the society visit their website.