Quick Change Review: Cinderella
This bad Cinderella, is actually pretty good.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest addition has developed quite the reputation over the last year; from maintaining a righteous position on its reopening marking that of the return of the West End post-pandemic to an infamous phone call to the cast resulting in tears.
The drama, undignified as it has been, should not be held at the helm of the cast who present Belleville at its blushing best and its wickedly worst.
At the heart of the story is our heroine, Cinderella (Carrie Fletcher). In this retelling, Cinders is the town rebel painted a trouble-maker and outsider. Of course, her only friend is Prince Sebastian (Ivano Turco), a lowly fellow thrust into the spotlight following the mysterious disappearance of his beloved older brother. FYI: you’ll love him, too.
Their town, Belleville, is referenced only for its beauty. However, presented to the audience is a panto style setting with flat cut-out turrets and forgettable interiors, lit with stark beams. The humour follows the adult pantomime vein, with jokes about the resident’s hot buns (to be fair, they are) and whispers of seedy undercurrents in the town. Little ears must be covered.
Gags are in parts shoe-horned into the script like a step-sister’s foot into a glass slipper.
It makes for a wonky delivery and beats are left for the audience to respond with laughter.
Fortunately, we do. Cinderella is easy to enjoy. The cast are fun to watch, particularly Georgina Castle and Laura Baldwin as Cinder’s hot step-sisters. They’re bratty and brilliant.
Costumes are absolutely mesmerising, with a couture attention to detail in the styling. Moments of glee come from the roaring ensemble filling the stage, each a fully-fledged resident of Belleville with attitude and self-assurance. There’s also a special moment with the revolve during the ball scenes.
Tenderness can however be found within the soaring score, and our two leads tell the story about friendship and true love with dignity and pride. Their relationship is infectious, and adds softness to this bumpy retelling. Fletcher’s rendition of ‘I Know I Have A Heart’ is a show stopping eleven o’clock number that is stunning to witness.
Cinderella is both sweet and salted. It’s an oddball show with the calibre of performance expected in the glittering West End, but slightly cheapened in its production value. However, weirdly - intentional or not - it works. The more you see, the more you love it. At the end, you’ll leave feeling the belle of the ball.
Cinderella is currently performing at the Gillian Lynne in the West Eme.