Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s blockbuster new reimagining of theCinderella story has finally opened at the Gillian Lynne Theatre in London, to strong reviews.
The production has become a touchstone for the trials of opening, or re-opening, West End shows during the Covid pandemic, and Cinderella finally opening comes as some relief to Lloyd-Webber, the theatre industry as a whole, and audiences desperate to get back!
The show features a talented and dynamic cast – and they get the strongest reviews for this show, including Carrie Hope Fletcher as Cinders, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as The Stepmother, Rebecca Trehearn as The Queen, Georgina Castle and Laura Baldwin as Cinderella’s stepsisters Marie and Adele, Ivano Turco as Prince Sebastian, and Gloria Onitiri as The Godmother.
Written by 2021 Oscar winner Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman), who is also a script writer and executive producer on Killing Eve, Cinderella is pitched as a modern take on the classic tale, with critics varying in their response to the themes tackled in the show.
Cinderella has a brand new score from Lloyd Webber and lyrics by David Zippel, a multi-award winner for Broadway productions including City of Angels, The Goodbye Girl, The Woman in White and Liza at the Palace, as well as for work on film including Disney’s Hercules and Mulan, both of which received Oscar nominations.
The production reunites Andrew Lloyd Webber with director Laurence Connor and choreographer JoAnn M Hunter, who previously worked on the Olivier Award winning international hit School of Rock and the current production of Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at The London Palladium.
The creative team also includes design by Gabriela Tylesova (Sweeney Todd, Love Never Dies), sound design by Gareth Owen (& Juliet, Come From Away), lighting design by Bruno Poet (Tina: The Musical, Billie Eilish at Steve Jobs Theatre) and Co-Musical supervision by John Rigby (The King and I, The Phantom of the Opera).
Cinderella is booking until 29 May 2022 at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, London.
A round-up of Cinderella reviews
The Guardian ★★★★★
“Not so much a ball as a blast”
“The original story and book by Emerald Fennell have heart and a torrent of barbed wit, exposing the faulty morals in traditional fairytales without scrimping on glittering trimmings. David Zippel’s crystalline lyrics are attuned to Fennell’s dialogue, cheekily satirical yet wistful and uplifting too.”
“In the first of several superb solos, Bad Cinderella, Carrie Hope Fletcher owns the rebellious reputation Cinders has been given. Sneering and raging, she is another of Lloyd Webber’s outsiders and akin to Dewey Finn in School of Rock. Belleville’s prim musical motifs recall those for the elite institution where Finn caused chaos. Fletcher slips brilliantly into her character with winning appeal, her despair revealed in Unbreakable, which evokes Close Every Door from Joseph.”
Chris Wiegand, The Guardian
“Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Delayed ‘Cinderella’ Is Worth the Wait”
“This 1934 show is Depression-era escapism fit for post-Covid times. If you want to remove yourself from the world for a few hours, this is the place to do it.”
“The long-awaited show from the 73-year-old industry veteran turns out to have been worth the wait. “Cinderella” is a big, colorful production, painted in deliberately broad brushstrokes by the director Laurence Connor, that turns a time-honored story (somewhat) on its head. The result may not be quite the theatrical equivalent of its heroine’s cut-glass slipper, but it nonetheless looks set for a sturdy West End run. Best of all: “Cinderella” is fun.”
Matt Wolf, The New York Times
The Telegraph ★★★★
“Happy ever after for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s long-awaited show”
“This is Lord Lloyd-Webber’s first new show since 2015’s School of Rock. If there’s any justice, Cinderella will match its lengthy run, allowing millions of us to go the ball. And what a ball it is: easily one of Lloyd Webber’s most entertaining musicals – a family-friendly extravaganza, with larger-than-life characters that make up for our lost pantomime season in 2020.””
Marianka Swain, The Telegraph
The Sunday Times ★★★★
“Cinderella is a triumph of catchy songs and fabulous wigs — it shouldn’t be denied to a joy-starved public”
Quentin Letts, The Sunday Times
The Stage ★★★
““Amusing, unexpected, enjoyable”
“It’s the cast that carries the show: Carrie Hope Fletcher takes the lead and stomps around the stage in DMs with a brilliant ease. She catches the timing of Fennell’s comic lines, and her voice is ideal: strident, loud and occasionally fragile.”
“If I could watch three hours of Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as the evil Stepmother, I gladly would. In a succession of elaborate costumes that seem to make her spine buckle and bow, she channels Cruella de Vil and Hyacinth Bucket, adding a 40-a-day wheeze. She is a straining, hunching grotesque, and a blast of pure pantomime joy every time she totters gurningly on stage.”
Tim Bano, The Stage
The Times ★★★★
“Fairytale ending for show that must go on”
“With a book by Emerald Fennell, who won an Oscar for the screenplay of Promising Young Woman, this reboot of the story, starring Carrie Hope Fletcher, delivers a 21st-century take on romance. And it’s simply joyous.”
Clive Davis, The Times
The Evening Standard ★★★★
“Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new take is a hilarious triumph”
“Laurence Connor’s production mixes panto-style archness with professional West End glitz and springs its big surprise in Act Two. At the ball, the stage and several rows of the stalls audience start to revolve, thanks to Lloyd Webber’s lockdown refurbishment of this theatre. It’s a magical moment. There’s another delightful surprise later that’s crucial to the plot and that has frankly been a long time coming in a major West End musical.”
“Fletcher rightly gets the best tunes, from the anthemic Bad Cinderella to the plangent I Know I Have a Heart. But Lloyd Webber delights in riffling through musical genres. Muscular courtiers work out to the martial thump of Man’s Man. There’s a sly Parisian wink in the accordion-backed I Know You, where Rebecca Trehearn’s dizzy but dangerous queen and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt – huskily channeling the likes of Gloria Swanson and Joan Crawford as Cinderella’s Stepmother – recognise each other as social climbers. Theirs is a great comic double-act.”
Nick Curtis, The Evening Standard
The Independent ★★★
“Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical is high-camp fun with a muddled message”
“So was Cinderella worth the wait? Well, yes and no. If this is your first show back in a packed-out theatre, you couldn’t ask for a more visually impressive production. Gabriela Tyleslova’s costumes are an enthralling mix of old and new, and there’s a moment of staging that made me gasp aloud. The production is driven forward by high-camp visuals, incredible comic talent and an electric ensemble cast. But look below the surface – as is Cinderella’s whole message – and you’ll find something more muddled, a show that doesn’t quite know what it’s saying or have the consistent material to support its vision.”
Isobel Lewis, The Independent
Date: 20 August 2021
Written by: Chris Raven
Tags: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cinderella, Gillian Lynne Theatre, reviews round-up