Let’s put that aside for a start: I’m not always Andrew Lloyd Webber’s biggest fan. In particular, I would say his most recent scores, like the update The Wizard of Oz and Rock school, ranged from poor to quite disappointing. That’s why I’m pleasantly surprised to be able to say that the score for Webber’s new version of Cinderella is actually quite fun, sometimes charming, and always eye-catching.
It is certainly a Cinderella which matches more next Rental, Spring awakening, heather, and Six more than a delicate, Disney-inspired fairy tale, with an approach that is firmly an ironic satire. The key to Webber’s musicals, it seems, are his collaborators, and in lyricist David Zippel and bookseller Emerald Fennell he found two people who give the series an intelligent, ironic and satirical touch in his together. Zippel plays with the deliberately anachronistic and conversational style of lyrics that 90s kids will remember Hercules, while Fennell’s hand is evident in quick-witted women and the surprisingly sharp satire of beauty standards (across genders, not just for women).
The opening number, titled “Buns ‘N’ Roses,” has a touch of Webber’s ’80s heyday, but also establishes the series’ sense of humor right away. Imagine if Chess‘s “Merano” was crossed with The beauty and the Beast‘s “Belle” and sung by a bunch of pretty selfish, arrogant people, and you get the idea.
Carrie Hope Fletcher debuts with “Bad Cinderella“, which is a catchy but sometimes questionable theme song. Fletcher is a powerhouse, and the song will absolutely get stuck in your head – if it’s not here, then from one of the many times it’s covered. Webber like a good cover! Like a song “I Want” says, it’s not particularly effective. It’s more of a song “I Am”, which tells us about Cinderellais proud of her status as a troublemaker but doesn’t give us much on what she really wants.
It is also the first of a few moments in the show where the melodies and chord progressions undoubtedly evoke other familiar tunes. The main “Bad Cinderella“The melody is strongly reminiscent of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s” In My Own Little Corner “, while the main motif of the” waltz “(appearing in several songs) bears more than a fleeting resemblance to the waltz melody” Learn to Do It “from Anastasia.
Fletcher is a good match for Ivano Turco as Sebastian, the reluctant prince who is stuck with the throne after the disappearance of his older and more popular brother. The show cleverly solves one of the biggest problems in all of modern day Cinderella adaptation – the instant love between the Prince and Cinderella – by making these versions of the characters long-time friends. There is a teasing and easy touch to their jokes, starting with “So Long”, their song (also very cover) at the beginning of the series. It’s easy to believe in their friendship and their simultaneous secret crushes, despite the fact that the lyrics of their songs waver a bit between specific and familiar feelings.
The score’s ballads are as flighty and exquisite as you could hope for, giving Fletcher and Turco a chance to shine. Turco’s “Only You, Lonely You” is destined to become a romantic standard in musical theater, while nearly all of Fletcher’s solos – “Unbreakable”, “I Know I Have a Heart” and “Far Too Late” – are the kind of ballad actresses on the belt dream and dread. If there is one complaint, it is that his musical arc is a bit repetitive; most of these songs repeat the same or similar emotions and character rhythms, which dampens the effect. Likewise, constant repetition is, of course, a hallmark of a Webber score – you’ll either like it or quickly get bored of it.
On the comedy side, there is plenty to shop around. Helen George, as the hedonistic queen, and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, as a stepmom, have a delightfully wicked duo, âI Know You,â which is pretty much carte blanche for the divas to harass him. As Godmother, Gloria Onitiri directs the surprisingly dark and wickedly satirical “Beauty Has a Price,” which serves as the series’ thematic centerpiece in many ways. Alas, stage thief Onitiri has very little other material to shine on, which is a real shame.
The second half of the album suffers from fairy tale syndrome, meaning the need to stretch the story out when its natural “act break” actually occurs with very little intrigue. (here, the ball opens act 2, and the rest is pre-wedding fallout). There is definitely a bit of infill, although the creative team are working hard to fill the space with more content for Cinderellastepfamily. Fortunately, things pick up at the end. Guest singer Adam Lambert appears as rockstar Prince Charming, recounting where he’s been with “The Three-Headed Sea Witch’s Victory”. It’s utterly ridiculous but also ridiculously fun, and it’s a shame the song didn’t survive the live version of the show.
Things end, at the end, in romantic comedy style, with everyone learning a few lessons in being true to themselves and following their hearts. It’s a heartfelt message shrouded in heaps of snark and camp, but somehow it all ends up in an album that is a surprisingly engaging and exciting run that has just enough of its own twist on it. classic story to make it stand out.
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