Cinderella overview – not so much a ball as a blast | Theatre


Delayed by a yr simply because of the pandemic, and with previous month’s opening evening postponed at the eleventh hour, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical is ultimately up and working. It arrives late but in higher trend with outre gowns, bare-chested swordplay, brutal higher heels and whipsmart humour. It’s worth the hold out.

The primary story and ebook by Emerald Fennell have coronary heart and a torrent of barbed wit, exposing the faulty morals in classic fairytales without the need of scrimping on glittering trimmings. David Zippel’s crystalline lyrics are attuned to Fennell’s dialogue, cheekily satirical yet wistful and uplifting much too. Lord Lloyd-Webber’s richly pleasant orchestrations vary from grand waltzes, courtly processionals and marches to deftly pastiched and deeply felt romanticism, electric power-balladry, a splash of chanson and rollicking guitar riffs. Bewitching melodies abound: some refrains are pretty much iridescent, revealing new tones from scene to scene.

Carrie Hope Fletcher as Cinderella and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as her stepmother.
Carrie Hope Fletcher as Cinderella and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as her stepmother. Photograph: Tristram Kenton/The Guardian

Laurence Connor’s manufacturing starts with a salvo towards fairytale bunkum: the shock information is that Prince Charming is dead. What’s more, anyone has graffitied his memorial statue. Fennell is up to something comparable as she defaces and rewrites myths about femininity, masculinity and heroism, with the keen eye for gender politics she showed in Promising Young Female.

Our setting is the immaculately preened Belleville. “There’s no city that can contend – frankly if they could we’d cheat,” boast the perfectly-honed citizens in an exuberant opener marked by fanfares and comically fussy staccato. Belleville is famed for sweet roses and creamy milk: a city buffed to perfection wherever sizzling buns are not only the protect of the bakery.

With her greedy and vain stepsisters (Georgina Castle and Laura Baldwin) only reflecting the city spirit, Cinders sticks out. But Fennell defines her as a result of defiance fairly than obligation and she by no means seems to be likely to chatter with magical birds. In the to start with of various exceptional solos, Undesirable Cinderella, Carrie Hope Fletcher owns the rebellious status Cinders has been supplied. Sneering and raging, she is a different of Lloyd Webber’s outsiders and akin to Dewey Finn in College of Rock. Belleville’s prim musical motifs recall those people for the elite institution wherever Finn brought on chaos. Fletcher slips brilliantly into her character with successful appeal, her despair unveiled in Unbreakable, which evokes Close Each individual Door from Joseph.

Ivan Turco as Sebastian.
Ivan Turco as Sebastian. Photograph: Tristram Kenton/The Guardian

Newcomer Ivano Turco, who graduated previous summer, is equally exceptional as Prince Charming’s downbeat brother, Sebastian, pressured to marry and acquire the throne, jeopardising his friendship with Cinderella. Turco delicately provides the tender ebb and stream of his ballad Only You, Lonely You. The finale shows him to be a imply mover but he has a keen physicality in the course of: awkward in community, at ease with Cinderella. The couple’s teasing relationship is captured in an influencing, informal tune jointly, So Extended, fairly than sealed in a passionate duet: this is a celebration of currently being mates fairly than a quest to locate a mate, as Sebastian is instructed.

We get, in influence, two transformations as Sebastian and Cinderella both equally test out new guises at the ball, wherever he have to pick a bride. Cinders sets out to appear as sizzling as “volcanic ash” in the cautionary Splendor Has a Rate, a duet with Gloria Onitiri (great as the godmother). Capturing the allure of conforming to natural beauty ideals that would make it possible for Cinderella to “disappear me”, it’s the darkest comedy of brutal corsetry considering the fact that Haus of Holbein in the West Conclusion hit Six. One particular of the show’s triumphs is how those people malevolent strings and that macabre keyboard can seamlessly transform sweet. But I missed the gear change offered by the rambunctious odyssey The Vanquishing of the 3-Headed Sea Witch, a spotlight in the primary solid recording album yet minimize from the present.

As she proved singing Zippel’s lyrics in Town of Angels at the Donmar, you can always depend on Rebecca Trehearn and she performs the Queen with lascivious glee her understanding duet with Cinderella’s stepmother (a rasping Victoria Hamilton-Barritt) is delivered as if straight from a Pigalle cafe.

Designer Gabriela Tylesova basically upends the fairytale city in a rococo body all-around the stage and a neat revolve requires us into the coronary heart of a waltz, elegantly choreographed by Joann M Hunter. Tylesova and Hunter outdo on their own with the irresistible amount Man’s Man whose thrusting, leather-clad refrain would seem to have escaped from Magic Mike Live’s West Conclusion residency.

It provides up to not so much a ball as a blast: terrifically OTT and foolish but heat and inclusive, with relatable, down-to-earth heroes and pertinent details about our quest for perfection and our anticipations of each and every other and ourselves.

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