First Scarborough staging of musical Mr Cinders is a triumph - how to see it at the YMCA Theatre

Spread a little happiness – so goes the hit song from the musical Mr Cinders and that is just what the cast does from the YMCA stage in Scarborough,

By Sue Wilkinson
Friday, 3rd September 2021, 12:34 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd September 2021, 4:38 pm
Mr Cinders is on at the YMCA Theatre, Scarborough, until September 5
Mr Cinders is on at the YMCA Theatre, Scarborough, until September 5

Not just a little happiness but happiness by the bucket load.

The cast from the UK Foundation of Dance deliver a delightful production of the Vivian Ellis and Richard Myers musical last staged professionally in the West End in 1983.

The plot is pure farce – an inversion of the Cinderella story set in the 1920s where flappers flapped and gentlemen were cads.

Connor Canvess as Jim and Tilly Jackson as Jill in Mr Cinders

Jim is the poor relation of the Lancaster dynasty and treated with disdain by his ‘ugly step cousins’ and step-aunt.

He falls for the maid Sarah – who is really the daughter of an American millionaire in disguise.

So far, so confusing? Throw in a masked ball, a stolen necklace and a secret passage and you have the full picture.

Denis Lawson and Christina Matthews played Jim and Sarah in the West End – a production I saw six – safe to say I loved it.

Robin Newman and Sharon Wooley

Directed by Tim Tubbs, the first Scarborough staging of the show is a triumph with all the hallmarks of its director’s naughty sense of humour, love of the genre and comic timing.

Musical director Alex Weatherhill arranged the score with professionalism and affection for the 1920s music – with more than a nod to the Charleston era.

Top acting honours have to go to Connor Canvess as Jim Lancaster – he is pitch perfect and on beat with his comic timing.

He roller skates, hops round in a barrel and delivers a word-perfect patter song On the Amazon – no easy task when its lines include: On the Amazon, the prophylactics prowl; On the Amazon, the hypodermics howl; On The Amazon, you’ll hear a scarab scowl and sting zodiacs on the wing ...

Steve Witty and Andrew Clay

His duets – One-Man Girl and I’ve Got You – with Tilly Jackson as Jill Kemp are beautiful.

Tilly matches him note for note, move for move.

There is admirable support from Andrew Clay and Steve Witty as his plummy-voiced, upper-class twit cousins.

There is great depth to the support cast with Katie Buttner as Minerva, Claire Edwards as Phyllis, Robin Newman as Sir George, Sharon Wooley as Lady Agatha and Dave Blaker as

Henry Kemp. Great cameos from Linda Polkowski as Donna Lucia and Chris Curtis as PC Merks.

The staging is lush and luxurious – red velvet curtains and exotic plants abound. The choreography, also by Tilly and Katie, is spot on – all precise flap and Wilson Keppel and Betty sand dance.

The costumes – from ball gowns and foppish pantaloons to the sequined flapper dresses and Amazon explorer suits – and their quick changes are breath-taking.

The whole glittering, shimmering production is bathed in a nostalgia for a less complicated time – and is just the tonic we need as we come out of these dark times.


Connor Canvess, Tilly Jackson, Katie Buttner, Robin Newman, Sharon Wooley, Steve Witty, Andrew Clay, Dave Blaker, Claire Edwards, Keagan Lee Jones, Linda Polkowski, Chris Curtis, Kirsty Sheader and Lauren Macdonald.


Tim Tubbs, Alex Weatherhill, Jacqueline Greaves, Liam Downey, Mark Watling, James Ferguson, Anne Mortlock, Paul Buttner, Steve Machen, Lesley Machen, Shirley Jennings, Sue Dixon Chris Jackson, Debi Silver and Richard Ponter.

Mr Cinders runs at the YMCA Theatre, St Thomas Street, Scarborough, in Friday September 3 at 7.30pm; Saturday September 4 at 3pm and 7.30pm and Sunday September 5 at 3pm.