Soho Cinders at Charing Cross Theatre
Soho Cinders is a modern fairy by Stiles and Drewe. Robbie (Luke Bayer) finds himself in love with mayoral candidate James Prince (Lewis Asquith) however Prince is engaged with Marilyn Platt. To add to the complication Robbie has also agreed to attend a fundraising dinner hosted by Lord Bellingham as his date. It all goes wrong when Prince is present and Robbie and Prince’s relationship is exposed to the world.
The themes of the show feel relevant with the show highlighting the wealth differences of those living in London as well as underlying themes of sexual harassment and political spin.
Despite some of the serious themes the show is undoubtedly a fun show, with a huge amount of witty one liners, delivered in particular by Robbie’s step-sisters Clodagh and Dana played by Michaela Stern and Natalie Harman along with Robbie’s best friend Velcro, played by Millie O’Connell. The one-liners were ones that you wouldn’t normally expect to hear in your ‘typical’ musical but that is what makes them so great and what helps set this show apart from others.
It is not just the witty book that makes this show different to many other shows, songs such as ‘I’m So Over Men,’ and ‘It’s Hard To Tell,’ which really gives the audience plenty of laughs without being afraid of being too crude. My criticism however about the show generally was that the laughs often took priority and as a result some of the emotional connection between the characters and plot was lost.
The cast themselves were outstanding in their characterisation. Without these larger than life portrayal this show simply wouldn’t work. Stern and Harman weren’t afraid to bring out the ‘ugly’ side of the sisters with their gyrating around the stage. This contrasted beautifully with O’Connell who radiated warmth and friendship towards Robbie.
Luke Bayer takes on the role of Robbie and his rendition of ‘They Don’t Make Glass Slippers,’ was stunning in its simplicity with his clear vocals shining through. The quirky ‘Wishing For The Normal’ by Bayer and O’Connell was also a joy to listen to.
The staging itself was clever with the audience 2 sides of the stage however director Will Keith and choreographer Adam Haighensured that you never felt as if the action was taking place away from you. I also enjoyed the contrast of the choreography in scenes that are set on the streets of Soho versus those that take place in Lord Bellingham’s home which really emphasised the differences in status between those in each scene.
Soho Cinders is a fun witty and relevant night out at the theatre, that combined with a cast full of great vocalists and brilliant character actors makes it a show to see in the lead up to Christmas.
Soho Cinders is running at the Charing Cross Theatre until 21st December. Visit their website for tickets and more information.