First, think about everything you know in the beloved children's tale Cinderella, you know the one. Take all those melodramatic characters and sub-plots and then plonk them down in Old Compton Street, in the heart of Soho. This is where we meet protagonist Robbie. Robbie is a young man trying to navigate his way through an awkward love triangle with a potential candidate for London Mayor and a sugar daddy lord. Okay, so it’s slightly different from the folk tale.
Bayer is utterly endearing as laundrette-worker Robbie and his chemistry with best friend and colleague Velcro (Millie O’ Connell) is evident from the start, each running around the stage in a childish brilliance. Bayer and O’ Connell have ample amounts of energy and chemistry throughout the evening but this is epitomised early on in their catchy duet Wishing For The Normal.
George Stiles’ lyrics and book by Anthony Drewe and Elliot Davis give the actors just the right combination of cheesy fillers, gut-wrenchingly funny duets and heart-warming ballads. I’m so over Men is a particular delight to watch between Natalie Harman and Michaela Stern as they storm around the stage declaring ‘falling in love is pants’ and that DIY may be the better option when it comes to one night stands.
The sparse staging design by Justin Williams is visually intriguing but isn’t used to its full potential by director Will Keith. Clunky blackouts between scenes do nothing but drag the energy of the evening down and ultimately become tiresome after the second or third transition. However, the decision to stage the production in the charming Charing Cross Theatre is a good one. The roars of nearby passing trains encroach into the auditorium, even at the most intimate moments I am immersed in a bustling Soho.
Will Keith’s production of Soho Cinders is the sauciest reimagining of the beloved tale you could imagine. An evening of quickfire naughty-gags with a beautiful score to match executed well by a very talented cast.
Soho Cinders runs at the Charing Cross Theatre until the 21st of December.
Tickets can be purchased at https://charingcrosstheatre.co.uk/theatre/soho-cinders
© Pamela Raith