Te Auaha, Tapere Nui, 65 Dixon Street, Te Aro, Wellington

27/01/2022 - 05/02/2022

Production Details

The Wellington Footlights Society presents the New Zealand premiere of Soho Cinders, a charming and hilarious modern musical adaptation of the Cinderella story.

Under the neon lights of London’s Soho district, Robbie is barely making ends meet by working at his mother’s launderette, under the constant harassment of his abrasive step-sisters. When he becomes romantically entangled with engaged mayoral candidate James Prince, their worlds are turned upside-down as they fight for true love in this fabulous spin on the classic fairytale.

Originally debuted off-West End in 2012, Soho Cinders is an urban musical fable strictly for grown-ups, packed with dirty humour and infectious melodies that will keep you buzzing long after the clock strikes midnight!

The Wellington Footlights Society is proud to support InsideOUT for this production of Soho Cinders. Footlights will donate 10% of ticket revenue to InsideOUT to help their mission to provide safer schools and communities for rainbow (LGBTQIA+) young people. 

Te Auaha, Tapere Nui, 65 Dixon Street
27 January–5 February 2022

Robbie – Chris McMillan
James – Michael Stebbings
Marilyn – Abigail Helsby
William – Mike Bryant
Lord B – Stanford Reynolds
Clodagh – Ellie Stewart
Dana – India Loveday
Velcro – Aoife Walsh
Sidesaddle – Siobhan Raisbeck
Sasha – Stacey O'Brien
Narrator – Aimée Sullivan
Ensemble – Letitia Garrett, Nadia Newman, Corey Moir, Alistair Davies, Jonathan Martin, Max Nunes-Cesar, Matt Todd 

Band – Shawn Condon, Jevon Wright, Ed Blunden, Thomas Whaley

Booth singers – Catherine Gavigan-Binnie, Cassandra Tse, Emily K. Brown, Laura Gardner, Fynn Bodley-Davies, Alex Rabina 

Director – Karen Anslow
Music Director – Shawn Condon
Choreographer – Katty Lau
Production Manager – Laura Gardner
Stage Manager – Julia McDonald
Publicity team – Alex Rabina, Aimée Sullivan
Props Manager – Catherine Gavigan-Binnie
Lighting Designers – Michael Lyell, Shanell Bielawa, Gabriella Eaton
Front of House Manager – Margaret Hill

Theatre , Musical ,

The crass fairytale we deserve right now

Review by Rachel Thomas 03rd Feb 2022

It’s the lockdown dances we all did in our lounge, it’s sexual frustration, it’s wishing for the normal and feeling trapped. Soho Cinders is big 2022 energy.

A sort of gay Cinderella, Soho Cinders is too crass to be called delightful, fabulously cathartic would be more accurate. The show originally debuted off-West End in 2012 and begins on the colourful Old Compton St, “where no one’s obsolete” in London’s neon Soho district. [More]  


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Timeless issues confronted along with much fun and frivolousness

Review by Jo Hodgson 29th Jan 2022

Sitting spaced out in RED light seating format with accompanying piped background city-scape noises, it feels a little like being on the London underground – a few hushed voices and not much connection going on. A strange ambience for an opening night at the theatre.

But here we are, while reduced in number, keen to see what Wellington Footlights has in store with the premiere of Soho Cinders by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe (of Mary Poppins fame): a modern look at a classic fairytale directed by Karen Anslow.

I don’t know the show at all and, aside from pre-listening to some of the music, I’m on a completely fresh page on this one.

Set in London’s Soho district, specifically Old Compton Street, we meet Robbie (Chris McMillan) and his best mate Velcro (Aoife Walsh) scraping together a living in his deceased Mum’s laundrette, with the constant berating and bullying of his stepsister’s Clodagh (Ellie Stewart) and Dana (India Loveday).  

Narrator Aimée Sullivan weaves together the colliding worlds of our hopeless romantic Robbie, Lord Bellingham – a sugar daddy (godmother) figure (Stanford Reynolds) providing a view of the ‘finer’ things in life; a hapless mayoral candidate James Prince (Michael Stebbings), his fiancé Marilyn (Abigail Helsby) and his smarmy campaign manager William George (Mike Bryant).  

The fantastic band set up in the balcony, led by musical director Shawn Condon, excellently navigates the many styles and catchy numbers like the locale setting full ensemble number ‘Old Compton Street’,depicting a vibrant, colourful and diverse part of town with a seedy after-hours, to the deliciously tender duet ‘Gypsies of the Ether’ between our clandestine lovers, contrasted starkly with the Stepsisters gutter song, ‘I’m So Over Men’ and the funk flavour in ‘The Tail that Wags the Dog’.

Choreographer Katty Lau creates a flow of cityscape imagery, stylised tableaus with what looks at times like clock formations, in a nod to that magical time of reckoning. I find the stark white brick work set, with purple centralised doors, incongruous to the iconic image of the dense vibrancy of Soho with its clash of styles and history. This blank canvas heightens the moments of dips in pace through the piece and while there are many absolutely stunning moments of theatrical storytelling – namely Chris McMillan’s and Michael Stebbings’ mesmerising vocals, Aiofe Walsh’s delightful vibrancy and on point character portrayal, the Stepsisters ‘15 minutes of Fame’and special mention of Siobhan Raisbeck’s powerful vocals in the cameo role of Sidesaddle – there are lags in delivery and blackouts which take us away from the much-needed constant tick tock of the drama within.  

Soho Cinders is another story of identity, being who you are without fear and love is love is love, with punctuations of standing up for oneself, not accepting the status quo or compromising so much that you lose yourself in the familiar. While there’s a lot of fun and frivolousness along the way, it does feel a little dated compared to many ‘new’ musicals confronting the issues of the day.

In saying that, these issues are a constant for many as they navigate their world and Wellington Footlights are supporting the essential work of InsideOUT to provide safer schools and communities for rainbow (LGBTQIA+) young people.

It so happens that due to the seating restrictions Soho Cinders is sold out but it’s worth having a listen to the soundtrack. It’s always worth supporting local theatre and Wellington Footlights do a great job!


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