December has snuck up on us and pantomimes are popping up everywhere, but if you want something just as fun but with a bit more substance, SOHO CINDERS is your show.
Stiles and Drewe are hardly strangers to London theatres; with this being their third show on currently (Half a Sixpence, Wind in the Willows). However, this show has to be up there as one of their catchiest and most fun musicals to date. The score is wonderful and Musical Supervisor Joe Louis Robinson does the music more than justice with just a three piece band, which is no easy feat, but the show constantly sounds full and in a small theatre like the Union, it’s a real treat.
The cast is young and energetic, which carries us through. I felt the show really came into it’s own in Act Two, when the narrative gets a bit darker and grittier, this is particularly true for Joshua Lewindon’s Robbie. They Don’t Make Glass Slippers, which he sings at the top of Act Two is one of the highlights of the show and although I had to warm to him, his gentle and likeable portrayal of young and naive Robbie is a real joy to watch.
Another stand out song of the show is Let Him Go, sung by the consistently excellent Emily Deamer (Velcro) and Lowri Walton (Marilyn). The two girls play the space with ease and flair from the top of Act One, and when they perform together they are electric. The Union lends itself to very honest and intimate performances and they both take full advantage of that.
Lewis Asquith’s James Prince is another character that captures our hearts, playing the closeted politician tactfully and intelligently, avoiding cheap jokes and stereotypes. His relationship with Walton’s Marilyn, his fiancé, is three dimensional and honest, and I feel this is one of the reasons the production works. While the show itself is fun and silly at times, under Will Keith’s clever direction, most of the actors avoid cheapening the show by playing to the audience or getting out of honest and complicated characters by adhering to clichés and archetypes.
If you want a fun evening with some fantastic music and a touching story, SOHO CINDERS is your perfect December show.
Reviewed by Kara Taylor Alberts (@karaalberts)
SOHO CINDERS plays at the Union Theatre until 22 December 2016