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Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Cinderella’: A Dazzling Spectacle That Hits The Mark in All Ways But One

The Gillian Lynne theatre

Roar writer Phoebe Smart reviews Andrew Lloyd Webber’s adaptation of “Cinderella”.

Theatre is back, and so is our Lord and Saviour Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber with his new take on the classic fairy-tale, “Cinderella”. Anyone planning on seeing Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cinderella” will undoubtedly have a blast! As always, Webber puts on a hell of a show: the costumes are deliciously camp, the set is dazzling and Webber’s melodies are guaranteed to be stuck in your head for days. Everything about ALW’s “Cinderella” makes a bold statement; all apart from its somewhat misguided take on feminism.

At its core, this version of “Cinderella” holds a valuable and important feminist message: that women should not have to change themselves to be loved and desired by men. (If you’re expecting the original fairy tale, you’re in for a surprise!) Unlike the original tale, this Cinderella does not need to undergo a dramatic transformation to get her prince. The deviation from the original fairy tale is both ambitious and refreshing. The sinister fashionista fairy godmother, who could give Naomi Campbell a run for her money, is an ingenious twist on the classic tale!

Unfortunately, ALW’s “Cinderella” plunges into the ‘not-like-other-girls’ territory at times. It’s made painfully clear that Cinderella is not like the other shallow, girly-girls in Belleville: she dresses in grunge clothing, wears black lipstick, and sports Doc Martens (how very daring).

Cinderella’s bad-ass persona comes at the expense of every single other female character in the cast who she is contrasted with, all of whom are presented as complete airheads, and referred to collectively as ‘bimbos’ by Prince Sebastian. Cinderella sings triumphantly that she is “nothing like” all the other women in the town in her first number, “Bad Cinderella”. This presentation of the women in Belleville, although comical at times, did make me squirm a little. This take, that girls who wear pink clothes and like makeup are shallow, dim and callous, is outdated and should stay in the noughties. I think the overall message of the show could have been made without this element.

Carrie Hope Fletcher is unsurprisingly fabulous as Cinderella, bringing the daring, bold character to life in the same way she did as Veronica in “Heathers”. Ivano Turco makes an excellent stage debut as Prince Sebastian, and brings his expertise in dance to the performance in an excellent way. The star of the show for me, however, is Victoria Hamilton-Baritt as The Stepmother. Baritt commands the stage every second she is on it with her hilarious and unique performance.

Webber’s songs hit the mark as always, and have a distinct romantic fairy tale sound to them, even if this version of “Cinderella” is far from your average fairy tale. “Only You, Lonely You” was a particular highlight.

I loved the incorporation of LGBT characters in Webber’s reimagining. Of course, openly queer characters are no stranger to the world of theatre, but the song “Marry for Love” was a particularly warm moment in the show, celebrating love in all its forms.

Overall, ALW’s “Cinderella” was a feel good, aesthetically beautiful show, with an inspiring message at its core: be your authentic self (unless you like pink!).

Tickets available to purchase here.

 

Comparative Literature at Kings College London

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