This cast recording showcases this contemporary and feisty interpretation of the classic fairytale with great style.
It feels as though we have had a number of different takes on Cinderella in recent years – particularly in terms of film releases that it does make you wonder if there was anything else that could be done with it. Yet, with this new stage production it certainly seems as though there are still plenty of ideas relating to this popular fairytale that can apply modern thoughts with regards to beauty and fame.
In this modern interpretation, Cinderella lives in Belleville a picturesque town – but with high standards and values in terms of beauty – which only Cinderella (who is much mocked and disdained) seems oblivious to. Meanwhile, her friend Sebastian is under pressure himself after unexpectedly becoming the heir to the throne following the disappearance of his brother Prince Charming
With smart and sharp songs such as ‘Beauty Has a Price’, ‘It Has to be Her’ and ‘So Long’, it is clear that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest musical is certainly a bold 21st century interpretation of the classic fairytale. This is thanks in no small part to Emerald Fennell’s sophisticated and satirical book and David Zippel’s lyrics that make you sit up and pay attention, while allowing Andrew Lloyd Webber to really have some fun musically to offer a range of diverse styles.
This is of course not to say that there are not still some elements that are instantly recognisable as Lloyd Webber’s work – including beautiful songs such as ‘I Know I have a Heart’, performed with great earnestness and yearning by Carrie Hope Fletcher who even on this recording plays the character with great spirit and insight. Elsewhere, Ivano Turco’s performance of ‘Only You, Lonely You’ is wonderfully delicate and vulnerable, while highlighting the fact in this production it is not the female characters who need rescuing.
Musically and lyrically there is certainly plenty to surprise – particularly during early numbers such as ‘It Has to Be Her’ that is surprisingly sharp lyrically and really puts a bold stamp on what we can expect from this musical very early on. But it is equally clear it is the female characters who really get the most moments to really shine – from Carrie Hope Fletcher’s powerhouse performance of ‘Bad Cinderella’ to Laura Baldwin, Georgina Castle and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt’s immensely enjoyable rendition of ‘Unfair’.
There is a real confidence that really shines through in every element of this recording including the performances that make this an enjoyable album to listen to. From Carrie Hope Fletcher’s independent and spirited Cinderella, Ivano Turco’s vulnerable but still charming Sebastian, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt’s suitably disdainful Stepmother and Rebecca Trehearn as the regal queen these are just a few performances that really shine on this album – and I’m sure on stage as well.
Having come to this album not knowing what to expect, I was pleased by the depth and range of musical styles that combined with Emerald Fennell’s strongly created book and David Zippel’s sassy lyrics that make this a fantastic sounding 21st century fairytale.
By Emma Clarendon
The cast recording of Cinderella is available to listen to and download now.