Tag Archives: Carrie Hope Fletcher

Cinderella

★★★★★

Gillian Lynne Theatre

 

Cinderella

Gillian Lynne Theatre

Reviewed – 25th August 2021

★★★★★

 

“It was a long time coming but it’s a ball”

 

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cinderella” has been under close scrutiny for some time now. This is in part due to Webber’s vocal stance against the government’s alleged failure to support the Arts during the pandemic. “The government’s actions are forcing theatre and music companies off a cliff as the summer wears on…” he is quoted as saying while rejecting the government’s invitation for “Cinderella” to be singled out as a last-minute part of the Events Research Program. Finally due to open on July 19th, the so-called ‘Freedom Day’, it ran a series of previews before the theatre went dark again for another month. So, long before Cinderella managed to get to the ball, the spotlight was on her every glass-slippered step. It has been a perilous journey, weighed down further by the show unwittingly becoming a litmus test for the recovery of the West End.

Eventually, though, the fairy tale dream comes true. And, in short, it is a true dream. Emerald Fennell’s book turns our concept of the Cinderella myth on its head. For a start Prince Charming has gone awol, presumed dead, and left in his place is the younger brother; Prince Sebastian – as much of a misfit as Cinderella herself. We are in Belleville, the most fairy-tale town that never existed. Carrie Hope Fletcher’s Cinderella is a ragged, rebel Goth in black lipstick. Only when in her company can Sebastian shake off his Royal mantle and truly be himself. To his dismay (and Cinderella’s unspoken concern) his mother has decided to arrange a Royal Wedding for him, purely to boost the town’s reputation. But his heart is set on Cinderella. It is not so much a will-they-won’t-they story, as we kind of know they will in the end. But that doesn’t matter – the story delivers more delightful twists on the way before the final corkscrew that pops the cork, and we can all bathe in the bubbles of joy that wash over us.

It’s a crazy makeover for the familiar story, adorned with David Zippel’s sparkling lyrics and, of course, a score that is well and truly back on form. Filled with a range of emotions and styles it swoons with strings and dips into ballads, taking many other genres under its wing. Leitmotifs and reprises float like feathers which, though intricate, are easily within our grasp and before we know it, we have made them our own. The eyes have as much of a feast as the ears. Gabriela Tylesova’s design, Bruno Poet’s lighting, with JoAnn M. Hunter’s choreography and director Laurence Conner’s staging thrust the show into the sovereign state of spectacle. And although the title suggests an out of season pantomime, this is far from it. The stunning leading cast, whilst enjoying the caricatures written for them, shape them into fully formed, loveable characters. The baddies and goodies alike.

The ugly sisters are beautiful. But marvellously dippy. Georgina Castle and Laura Baldwin play the comedy of the sibling rivalry to perfection. Victoria Hamilton-Barritt’s star turn as the stepmother accentuates the 1980s slang meaning of ‘wicked’. Insanely wonderful and cool she needs no spotlight to let her presence shine across the stage. Rebecca Trehearn’s Queen ransacks the ‘Blackadder’ archives but with so much more nuance and light and shade. Hamilton-Barritt and Trehearn make a dynamic duo, particularly during their show-stopping highlight number, ‘I Know You’ that reveals their seedy pasts in Paris.

The central pair, of course, is Cinderella and Prince Sebastian. Hope Fletcher’s gorgeous, soaring vocals reach the heightened emotions, yet she can slip into character in a beat. The star player, her generosity never pulls focus from her co actors. Sebastian was played sublimely, for this particular performance, by understudy Michael Hamway. His solo show stealing, heart stopping ‘Only You, Lonely You’ drew possibly the longest ovation of the evening. Watch out for the name!

Andrew Lloyd Webber has had his detractors and has often had to weather the storms of his risk taking. Rewriting such a beloved tale such as “Cinderella” is another risk. But boy – it has paid off! It was a long time coming but it’s a ball. Everyone is invited – and everyone should go to it. I’d say be quick about it, but there’s a feeling that this show will be around for quite some time.

 

Reviewed by Jonathan Evans

Photography by Tristram Kenton

 


Cinderella

Gillian Lynne Theatre until 13th February 2022

 

Five star reviews from Jonathan this year:
Bklyn The Musical | ★★★★★ | Online | March 2021
Cruise | ★★★★★ | Duchess Theatre | May 2021
Preludes in Concert | ★★★★★ | Online | May 2021
Bad Days And Odd Nights | ★★★★★ | Greenwich Theatre | June 2021
The Hooley | ★★★★★ | Chiswick House & Gardens | June 2021
Operation Mincemeat | ★★★★★ | Southwark Playhouse | August 2021

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews

 

One Night With … – 4 Stars

Night

One Night With …

Studio 88

Reviewed – 16th October 2018

★★★★

“a lovely, joyful idea, and the sense of this was totally present on the opening night”

 

For those who don’t know it already (this was certainly my first time…), Studio88 is a gorgeous and intimate underground music venue just off Wardour Street. A live band plays almost non-stop, taking requests and blasting out dance floor hits and cult classics (depending on the audience) in a space that, on a Tuesday night at least, isn’t as overstuffed as you’d image a venue of this nature just off Leicester Square.

The bar plays host to a variety of events and launched its ‘One Night With…’ season this week. The idea behind it is to allow musical theatre fans to get up close and personal with their favourite West End stars, hearing them sing the hit tunes that made their name, as well as a little bit more about their lives on both sides of the stage door. Each week sees a different star interviewed and introduced by James Barr, who will host the rest of the gigs. It’s a lovely, joyful idea, and the sense of this was totally present on the opening night.

Doug Armstrong, so-called ‘YouTube sensation’, was our host on Tuesday night, at ease with his audience and quite charming to boot. His guests, Jodie Steele – known for her roles in ‘Wicked’ and ‘Heathers: The Musical’ – and Carrie Hope Fletcher – well-known author and long-serving star of ‘Les Misérables’ – were honest, funny and thoroughly entertaining, blasting out hits the fans adored from ‘Heathers’, ‘Wicked’, and – you guessed it – ‘Les Misérables’. We heard how childhood experiences helped Steele connect with her character in ‘Heathers’ and how Fletcher feels now looking back to her days as a child actor. It was genuinely interesting stuff, and a friendly and entertaining way to allow audiences to relate to the people they admire. In addition to all that, the singers and band were on top form.

For those disinterested in the world of West End musical theatre, steer well clear. For everyone else (and if the launch night is anything to go by) this will be a thrilling evening of insight and intimacy. You can feel the excitement issuing from the crowd of fans as they get within touching distance of these talented and respected stars, and all in all is a fast-track ticket to a great night out.

 

Reviewed by Joseph Prestwich

 


One Night With …

Studio 88 returning every Tuesday

 

SEASON LINE UP

Tuesday October 23: Marisha Wallace, Effie White in Dreamgirls at the Savoy Theatre.
Tuesday October 30: Claire Sweeney, star of the stage and screen.
Tuesday November 6: Rob Houchen, currently in Eugenius! as Eugene.
Tuesday November 13: Julie Atherton, the original Kate Monster in the West End’s Avenue Q.
Tuesday November 20: Jordan Luke Gage, Strat in Bat Out of Hell in the West End.
Tuesday November 27: Sophie Evans, currently Glinda in Wicked.

 

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