Soho Cinders is a modern musical fable, loosely based on the Cinderella story, which takes place in the throbbing heart of London’s most cosmopolitan district, Soho.
Feel the party on Old Compton Street
Feel the pavement throb
beneath your feet
take a seat,
watch the show.
Nothing's normal on
Old Compton Street
Dress informal as you jump aboard,
step inside, urges will be satisfied
Here where life is sweet ,
Old Compton Street.
Old Compton Street, Soho, London. Velcro is discovered working in her launderette, Sit and Spin. Her best friend, Robbie, is seen leaving a client's house whilst his stepsisters, Dana and Clodagh, try to drum up trade outside Glam Amour - the 'Gentleman's Club' which they run. London mayoral candidate James Prince arrives at the Prince Edward Theatre with his fiancée Marilyn Platt. Their arrival is orchestrated by James' ever-watchful spin-doctor, William. (Old Compton Street)
Velcro is in the laundrette when Robbie runs in to drop off his previous day's earnings in the floor safe. Robbie opens his law books to study for an upcoming exam when his phone rings. Velcro guesses it is a client and protests that she hates Robbie working as a rent boy. Robbie explains he is 'an escort' and that it is a means to an end. They realise they both have the same modest dream of settling down one day with 'Mr Right'. (Wishing For The Normal)
Velcro dreams of the simple things in life – like owning a goldfish.
Robbie's phone rings again. It is his secret love affair arranging to meet. Despite Velcro's persistence, Robbie refuses to tell her the identity of his new love.
We learn that Robbie is studying law in order to prove that his stepfather, Les, who is currently in prison, changed his mother's will at the late stages of her Alzheimer's. Robbie suspects Les took everything left to him, including the Soho flat and shop, which Les changed into the strip club. Robbie intends to prove this and get it all back.
At James' campaign headquarters William orchestrates the day's events, (Spin)
. During the number William liaises with industry tycoon, George Bellingham, at whose offices James' final, all-important fundraiser will take place – before nominations close for the Mayoral race.
Robbie is in Trafalgar Square chatting to someone on his iPad. (Gypsies Of The Ether)
As the Square empties of people, James Prince appears. Robbie and James embrace.
Dana and Clodagh are at work, reflecting on their various failings with men. (I'm So Over Men)
William appears in Soho with his assistant Sasha Singh canvassing for votes for James. They happen across Dana and Clodagh when William takes a call from Lord Bellingham. Bellingham points out that the invitation to the party fundraiser he is sponsoring does not have his name on it. William tells Sasha, who is the victim of much of William's cruel and often racist humour, to accompany him back to the office to fix the mistake. They throw the old invitations away which Dana and Clodagh are quick to pick up. The girls decide to crash the fundraising party in the hope of giving romance one last chance.
Velcro is closing down for the night in the launderette and presses Robbie on the identity of his new boyfriend. Robbie gives in and tells her it is James Prince. Velcro is horrified and points out that Prince has a fiancée and is apparently straight. This could spell a world of trouble for Robbie. Velcro fears she will never find a boyfriend if she can no longer tell or trust who is gay or straight. (It's Hard To Tell)
After a night on the town guessing the various sexualities of people in Soho, Robbie and Velcro crash out in the launderette. Robbie is woken by a phone call from Lord Bellingham, a long time client. Bellingham requests Robbie's presence at an important fundraiser at his office that night. As it is a smart affair Bellingham tells Robbie he has arranged for him to be kitted out by Armani in Knightsbridge. Robbie agrees to attend. Bellingham decides that tonight he will take the opportunity to upgrade the status of his relationship with Robbie and rescue him from Old Compton Street. (Old Compton Street Reprise)
Robbie is having second thoughts about going to the event with Bellingham. However, Velcro, excited by the thought of Armani and Bellingham's charge card, persuades him to go him and even lays on a rickshaw to take him there. (You Shall Go To The Ball)
During the song we also see James and Marilyn, William and Sasha, and Dana and Clodagh getting ready for the fundraiser that evening.
Robbie arrives at Bellingham's offices. Bellingham goes to greet him, just as James Prince sees Robbie. They both call out his name.
The assembled guests sense the awkwardness of Robbie's arrival. (Who's That Boy?)
Bellingham is envious of the way Robbie looked at James Prince and questions Robbie on how he knows him. Robbie reminds Bellingham that he hires him and does not own him. Bellingham is furious and grabs Robbie ripping the Armani suit from his back. James intervenes and asks Robbie what he is doing there. Robbie runs from the party, dropping his mobile phone in the process. Marilyn Platt picks the phone up and wants to know the identity of its owner.
Later that evening James finds Robbie in Trafalgar Square. Robbie admits that he was hired as an escort by Bellingham. James realises what this means and how the story will now break. He leaves. Robbie is left alone. (They Don't Make Glass Slippers)
The next morning, James is with Marilyn in William's office. Under pressure James admits he has been having an affair with Robbie but that he never knew he was an escort. Marilyn refuses to discuss any of this in front of William. (Spin Reprise)
A phone rings in Marilyn's bag and she realises it is Robbie's phone from the night before. It is Velcro on the phone asking where Robbie is. Marilyn arranges to drop the phone back to Velcro in person at the launderette.
William sees the proceeding nights events as an opportunity for him to succeed James and run for Mayor himself. (The Tail That Wags The Dog)
He visits Lord Bellingham to tell him that in return for Bellingham's financial backing to fund his own campaign, he will spin the story to the press making it look like James Prince invited his rent boy lover and fiancée to the same fundraising event, keeping Lord Bellingham's name out of the story. Bellingham reluctantly agrees.
Marilyn arrives at Velcro's launderette to return the phone. She explains that she always knew James was gay or at least bisexual and that she fell in love with him anyway. Velcro admits she is in the same situation with Robbie. They are both in love with gay men. (Let Him Go)
Robbie runs to the floor safe in the launderette to collect his mother's will and some cash before leaving town. He sees Marilyn, apologises and explains he never meant for it to end this way. He tells Velcro he is running away as he doesn't want to speak to the press and that he doesn't know when he will return.
Meanwhile the press, having been tipped off by William, are outside Dana and Clodagh's strip-club where they expect to find Robbie. Instead, they find Dana and Clodagh who seize the moment, believing fame and fortune has finally arrived. (Fifteen Minutes)
James is facing the press and reading out a resignation speech that William has written for him. James pauses and departs from the prepared speech, finally speaking from his heart. He reflects on the fact that he allowed himself to be media manipulated and therefore the voters never got to see the real James Prince. He apologises publicly to Marilyn.
After the press conference Marilyn confirms that her relationship with James will never work. James says that the press only have Robbie's side of the story and that he will lay low for a while. Marilyn explains that Robbie has not spoken to the press and that it was more likely William's version of events that is in the tabloids. She tells James that Robbie is catching a train from London Bridge station. James exits.
Robbie is at London Bridge when James walks on to the platform. (Finale) They re-unite and just before boarding the train Velcro arrives with a phone number for Robbie. It is the number of a lawyer recommended by Marilyn for Robbie to call and challenge his mothers contested will.
A news board on the station flashes up that William has had to stand down as a mayoral candidate as his assistant Sasha Singh alleges racial harassment in the workplace.
James and Robbie board the train leaving Velcro still 'wishing for the normal'. A stranger bumps into her holding a goldfish in a polythene bag…