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Ten months after its one-off charity performance and over a decade since they first began working on it, Stiles and Drewe’s contemporary new musical, loosely based on the Cinderella story, finally gets a short run.

The venue is the Soho Theatre, right in the heart of gender bending Soho where it belongs – and just a stone’s throw from Old Compton Street where ugly sisters Clodagh and Dana run their strip joint and scheme to inherit the local launderette.

The usual role reversals are re-reversed. These man-hungry siblings are played, full throttle, by a pair of big, busty women – Suzie Chard in eye-poppingly scanty attire, which hasn’t a hope of covering her ample flesh, Beverly Rudd doused in glitter to go to the mayoral fundraiser hosted by the devious Lord Bellingham.

Instead of a demure Cinderella, we’re given rent boy Robbie (he prefers the term “escort”) their step-brother who’s funding his studies by offering extracurricular services. And sympathetic best friend Buttons has become tousle-haired Velcro (a sweet Amy Lennox) who runs the launderette once owned by his mother.

The songs are a happy mix of the catchy, the poignant, the clever and the raucous, with “Gypsies of the Ether” – a duet for Robbie and would-be mayor James Prince (Michael Xavier with the sort of leading man authority guaranteed to garner votes whatever ones sexual orientation) - especially haunting.

Gerard Carey bares his teeth as Prince’s unscrupulous spin doctor, Jenna Russell is touching as his fiancée and Stephen Fry provides a knowing voiceover for an evening which manages to be immensely enjoyable despite a book which (even after such a lengthy gestation) could still be improved.

Soho Theatre, Dean Street, W1D 3NE
Tube | Tottenham Court Road
Until 9th September
£12.50 - £37.50
http://www.sohotheatre.com
http://www.sohocinders.com


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Theatre review: Soho Cinders
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