Third From The Right Productions Ltd. are an amateur theatre company based in the West Midlands; and were formed to “bring high quality lesser known dramatic and musical theatre productions to a wider audience”. This year, TFTR Productions presents the regional premiere of Stiles & Drewe’s modern spin on the classic Cinderella fairy tale, “Soho Cinders” at the Crestwood Theatre.

Soho Cinders was showcased in a sold-out concert performance at the Queen’s Theatre in October 2011 and in 2012 the fully-staged production was performed at the Soho Theatre in 2012 to popular reviews. The plot is pitched as a modern twist and loosely based on the classic ‘Cinderella’ story set in the heart of Soho, London. The story centres around Robbie who has an affair with an aspiring politician, James Prince. Throw in the other features of the popular fairytale and you have a refreshing edgy take on a classic.

TFTR Productions always push the boundaries of local Amateur Dramatics and showcase new material that you may have missed elsewhere, Soho Cinders is one of those shows. I never caught this when it was in London, so it was a great opportunity to see this locally. What I love most about TFTR is their attention to detail, from their carefully created video montages and photographs to their decisions on costumes and props. You can really tell that they put their all into everything they do and I feel you always leave with things to remember from their productions.

The funky band brought this fun score to life directed by Musical Director Chris Corcoran. The company (Soho People & Soho-Cialites) were dedicated to delivering the numbers with precision and energy advanced by the fresh and charismatic choreography by Gaynor Whitehouse.

There were lots of highlights in this cheeky, edgy, risqué modern Cinderella story directed and choreographed by Gaynor Whitehouse. Stand outs for the night (echoed with the audience reaction) were the two “ugly” sisters Clodagh (Natalie Baggott) and Dana (Gillian Homer). Baggott and Homer were hilarious as these vulgar, brash sisters. You couldn’t look away from their performances as the audience were in hysterics whenever they were on stage, particularly in the hilarious number Fifteen Minutes.

Though the show had its larger than life characters, there were wonderful moments of vulnerability and emotion from its varying duos. The performance of Gypsies of the Ether by lead Robbie played by the delightful Joshua Hawkins and the charming Adam Siviter as Mayor candidate James Prince was packed full of sensitivity and emotion. I thought Let Him Go by Sarah Coussens as Prince’s Fiancé Marilyn and Kerry Davies as Robbie’s best friend Velcro was beautifully performed and my favourite song of the night. I really enjoyed the chemistry from all of the cast in this production, especially the chemistry between best friends Robbie (Hawkins) and Velcro (Davies).

Every story needs a real villain and this was perfectly portrayed by Carl Cook as misogynist William George. Cook’s outstanding stage presence and voice dominated the stage in another favourite performance of the night, The Tail that Wags the Dog.

For me, Soho Cinders probably wouldn’t make a place in my “top shows to see again” but I am really glad I got to catch it on stage and with a company like TFTR. Like me, the audience enjoyed this production and even technical glitches before Act II could not stop the wonderful energy from the cast and the audience. With this production TFTR proved, once again, that they are innovative and ready to take risks which is just what the Am Dram world needs.

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Theatretastic 4/5:

We say: “This TFTR production of Soho Cinders is bold, brash and full of heart!”