The much-anticipated World Premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella has arrived at the Gillian Lynne Theatre. Sumptuous costumes, magical staging, melodic magnificence, sarcastic wit, subversive storytelling, and the best talent this city has to offer ignite your senses and bring the story of Cinderella into the 21st century.
The tale of Cinderella has been told for centuries, the perfect vehicle for writers to use to converse about our ever-changing society – Andrew Lloyd Webber and Emerald Fennel have successfully done just this for today’s socially developing audience. Forget jukebox musicals, jukebox fairy tales are the new way forward!
A Cinderella x Aquazzurra Experience at Brown’s Hotel
Brown’s Hotel and Aquazzura have just launched an exclusive partnership for you to enjoy before and after the show. The ‘Head over Heels’ package offer, includes a one to two-night stay in one of the hotel’s suites, a bespoke in-suite design consultation and shoe fitting, an exclusive invitation to visit the Aquazzura store after hours for a VIP shopping experience
as well as a pedicure at The Spa at Brown’s.
The partnership continues throughout with some of the Florence-based shoe designer latest creations displayed at The Donovan Bar to accompany Salvatore Calabrese’s new ‘Tequila Scandal’ cocktail, created specially in celebration of the exclusive collaboration.
The Donovan Bar, Brown’s stylish drinking den (the home of awesome chunky parmesan bar snacks), will display three of Aquazzura’s finest shoes from its latest collection, the Tequila Plexi Sandal 105, Temptation Crystal Sandal 105 and the Seduction Crystal Pump 105. These three pairs of stunning heels will be dotted around the bar allowing guests to admire the shoes whilst sipping on delicious tipples from Salvatore Calabrese’s extensive cocktail menu, one of which is the ‘Tequila Scandal’ – created specially in celebration of this collaboration. ‘Tequila Scandal’ is a champagne style cocktail, made with Tequila, Calabreses’s Acqua Bianca liqueur and infused with home-made pineapple juice and green cardamom cordial.
‘Head over Heels with Aquazzura’ at Brown’s Hotel starts from £1,300 and is based on double occupancy, valid until 1 April 2022.
The curtains open to the energy of buzzing Belleville – muscular men in leather shorts sing and cavort sassily with their equally beautiful ladies of Belleville. The melody and lyrics hit you with freshness and coquettish charm as the town is in riot over what ‘Bad Cinderella’ did that denied Belleville of its title of ‘The Best-Looking Town in the Land.’
The songs are the equivalent of a long string of musical theatre number ones, each tune becoming addictive and I am craving to hear these songs again. There are some soaring melodies like “I Know I Have a Heart”, “Far Too Late” and “Unbreakable.” I would have thought Andrew Lloyd Webber would have run out of songs but the score for Cinderella is brilliant and I could hear musical inspirations from his other shows Evita, Whistle Down the Wind and even Love Never Dies in the mix.
The casting is clever with understudy talent running deep into this cast (Georgina Onuorah and our favourite Cinders, the amazing Lauren Byrne regularly take over as Cinderella). Carrie Hope Fletcher ironically shines in her black, Doc Marten, Emo getup – her voice resonating beautifully. The subversion of character continues with an intentionally meek and thoughtful leading man, Prince Sebastian, on this occasion played brilliantly by the subtly charming Michael Hamway. The talent runs very deeply in this cast and I want to come back again and again to see different takes on these characters.
Gloria Onitiri can only be described as a vocal powerhouse as she plays the almost malevolent Godmother. I only wish we saw more of her. The ensemble are energetic, fantastically choreographed and are a jesting asset to the entire production with mega talent running all the way through. We couldn’t keep our eyes off Giovanni Spanó and the other two hunks who bring a comical macho vibe to the show. Yet, the standout performances are from The Queen, Rebecca Trehearn and The Step Mother, Victoria Hamilton-Barrit. Their mix of ditsy mischievousness and gravelly voiced bitterness give us the perfect comedic and ‘bitchy’ double act as they sing “I Know You.”
The costumes and staging are a true feast for the eyes. Extravagance and glamour embellish every member of the cast as no expense has been spared on this modern take of Baroque costume design – The Queen treats us to at least 5 costume changes, one more flamboyant than the last. The set cleverly makes the audience feel part of the production. The ballroom scene is logistically, a first in the history of musical theatre – without spoiling the surprise, if you can bag a seat in the first eight rows of the stalls, then do it! The dancers twinkle in the ephemeral lighting of the ball and the emotive melody of yet another Lloyd Webber masterpiece – leaving the audience hypnotised with its beauty.
Traditionally Cinderella finds true love by transforming herself into a ‘princess’ – safe to say this is not the moral of the story in this rendition, this fairy tale celebrates love in all its forms – raising important issues of class, beauty and sexuality. Not only does this show celebrate love, but it really celebrates fun and acceptance with Prince Charming (the brilliant Caleb Roberts) making a hilarious and unexpected impact.
One leaves the theatre with an overwhelming urge to want to see this original, cheeky production again immediately. So much so my companion has already booked to see the show next week! We all need some of the magic, love and delight of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella.
Cinderella is playing at the Gillian Lynne Theatre.
For tickets, visit: andrewlloydwebberscinderella.com
Imagery courtesy of Tristram Kenton / Brown’s Hotel. Leading image courtesy of Brown’s Hotel.
View this post on Instagram