Soho Cinders - a ★★★★★ feel-good, Offie-nominated musical that feels even better!

★★★★★ Soho Cinders 

As you are so often asked in life, ‘what do you want, the good or the bad news?’ The bad news was that Soho Cinders was due to close on 21 December. But the good, even great news, is that it has now been extended until 11 January 2020. And to my mind, that’s perfect timing for a feel-good musical that feels even better the second time around - especially over the festive season and into the New Year! 

Sad that some members of the original cast have other commitments but glad news, director and producer, Will Keith has managed to recast with some performers who are, without doubt, a knockout. The entire production also seems a lot gutsier, with an ensemble whose voices seem to blow the roof off! 

With music and lyrics by West End royalty Stiles and Drew and a book by Elliot Davis and Anthony Drewe, Soho Cinders is musically and lyrically infectiously entertaining and sharply astute. With a book that contains some of the best one-liners that are genuine laugh-out-loud moments - many of which should come with a health warning, it should not be missed! 

Shamelessly quoting from my previous review, ‘when impoverished student Robbie becomes romantically involved with engaged London Mayoral candidate, James Prince, his lap-dancing step-sisters, Clodagh and Dana, become the least of his problems! Robbie's best friend, Velcro, offers emotional and financial advice as she runs the family launderette, while James's fiancée, Marilyn Platt, deals with their unravelling relationship. Along the way we meet, the pushy, ambitious, master of spin and campaign manager, William George and conflicted, confused and dubiously moneyed, Lord Bellingham.’ Put simply just imagine an alternative Cinderella story and you won’t go far wrong! 

Stepping joyously into the roles of Robbie and Velcro are Michael Mather and Livvy Evans, both performers with contagious charisma, loveable likeability and voices to die for! Mather has succumbed to what can only be described as a Jamie New blond makeover and now clearly originates from Newcastle, all of which adds to the originality of his portrayal and cleverly distinguishes his Robbie as fresh and novel. Michaela Stern maintains her tour de force performance as Clodagh, while Hollie Taylor joins her as Dana – sisters from hell but you have to seriously admire their vocal and linguistic dexterity. Their one-liners are worth the price of admission alone! Special mention must go to Dayle Hodge, new to the role of William George. This is a performer with a stunning, show-stopping voice and is a serious and infinitely watchable talent.
With standout performances from Lewis Asquith as James Prince and Tori Hargreaves as his long-suffering girlfriend/fiancée, this is an ensemble entirely on top of their performances - all totally focused, with some excellent ensemble dance routines, sparklingly choreographed by Adam Haigh. 

A big bravo must also go to Will Keith, director, producer and all-round charming individual, to whom I was introduced at the end of the show. He has clearly worked assiduously, with others, of course, to achieve this extension. His enthusiasm for his profession and craft is palpable and is to be admired and endlessly nurtured. 

So, having been given a second chance, please don’t miss Soho Cinders again. For the record,  I have already booked for the last night! 

Soho Cinders runs until 11 January at the Charing Cross Theatre

Now Offie OffWestEnd nominated for Best Male in a musical for Michael Mather and Female Supporting Roles in a musical for Michaela Stern, Natalie Harman and Hollie Taylor.

Soho Cinders
Music by George Stiles
Lyrics by Anthony Drewe
Book by Anthony Drewe & Elliot Davies 

Cast: Michael Mather, Livvy Evans, Dayle Hodge, Lewis Asquith, Tori Hargreaves, Michaela Stern, Natalie Harman, Hollie Taylor, Melissa Rose, Jade Bailey, Thomas Ball, Luke Byrne, Laura Fulgenzi, Danny Lane, Savannah Reed., Robert Grose and Liam McHugh. 

Creative Team: Director Will Keith, Choreographer Adam Haigh, Musical Director Sarah Morrison, Associate Musical Director Joe Louis Robinson, Set Designer Justin Williams, Lighting Designer Jack Weir, Sound Designer Andrew Johnson, Costume Designer Nicole Garbett, Casting Director Harry Blumenau, Press Kevin Wilson PR