Review of 'Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cinderella'

This is the latest, long awaited musical from Andrew Lloyd Webber featuring Carrie Hope Fletcher in the title role at the Gilliam Lynne Theatre (formerly the New London Theatre). We originally had tickets for December last year but, of course, there was a global pandemic which pushed our dates back no less than four times but, thankfully, the stars have aligned and we were able to finally able to see the show with a nicely packed audience in attendance. The return of the big musical…

In this new, contemporary, interpretation of the Cinderella story Cinderella, played by the amazing Carrie Hope Fletcher, is a bit of a trouble maker (“Bad Cinderella”), struggling to find her place in the world with a gruff and belligerent attitude though still still treated as a slave by her stepmother, played with great theatrical aplomb by Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, as well her two selfish and vain sisters Adele (Laura Baldwin) and Marie (Georgina Castle). Cinderella has long been friends with Prince Sebastian, played by the golden-voiced Ivano Turco, who is treated very much as the lesser brother by his mother, the Queen (Rebecca Trehearn), ever since her much adored son Prince Charming died fighting a dragon. The Queen is determined to see Sebastian wed so arranges a ball where he must chose a wife. Sebastian convinces Cinderella to go to the ball despite it not really being her scene so she pays a visit to the Godmother (Gloria Onitiri), a plastic surgeon who works her magic on Cinderella (“Beauty Has a Price”). The night of the ball things go…badly…will true love conquer all?

Yeah, yet another new version of Cinderella though this time with quite a number of surprises not the least of which the ending. The staging is wonderful with the set literally spreading into the auditorium (and in the second act becoming a for more central feature, though I will leave that as a surprise) while onstage the buildings are abstract, moving around as the story moves swiftly on as there are quite a few scene changes with very complicated choreography to match never mind quite a few large dance numbers.

The music, as you might expect, is very good and very Lloyd-Webber-y but with a few exceptions is nothing to really write home about – The exceptions being the catchy “Bad Cinderella”, Sebastian's first act lament “Only You, Lonely You”, and the wonderful set piece of act two, Cinderella's solo “Far Too Late”. I did also wish there were more songs like the introduction of a surprising rock-heavy “Beauty Has a Price” which brought to mind Jesus Christ Superstar.

As you might expect with a Webber musical, the music is very demanding on singers and the main cast do not disappoint though we did catch a few duff notes from Ivano Turco in the first act Carrie Hope Fletcher never faltered and provided a suitably powerful performance, dominating every scene in which she appears. The supporting cast do a fantastic job with the music as well playing their suitably pantomime characters.

With all of this, we found the musical while entertaining is not that engaging and a bit on the dull side though the staging does help to liven things up a bit. The music generally is quite forgettable with no pieces particularly sticking in the mind. If I had not heard some of them beforehand there is no way I would remember them after the curtain fell. Still, even an average musical is still quite good.


Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2021-11-01

Gillian Lynne Theatre

Location: London (England)

Address: 166 Drury Lane London WC2B 5PW ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Holborn TUBE Covent Garden

Telephone: +44 (0) 844 412 4654


Formerly known as the “New London Theatre”, the “Gillian Lynne Theatre” is located away from other west end theatres, the theatre is currently owned by the “Really Useful Group” (notable founder, Andrew Lloyd Webber) and has, unsurprisingly, hosted a number of Webber musicals including Cats for 21 years. It is a monument to 60s architecture with a brutalist concrete interior.


The entrance is on the street but the theatre itself is accessed on the first floor by a long escalator (and lift or staircase). The auditorium is not large with only the stalls and a single balcony (circle) with about five rows meaning that pretty much any seat provides a very good view of the stage - Even the stalls are somewhat raked so that your view is not obscured by a tall person sitting in front of you. The space is intimate with the whole place quite “flat” with the stage jutting out into the stalls. When War Horse played here in the round it was a perfect use of the stage.