Hip Hop Cinderella
Charming, fun, cartoonish and intergalactic, Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy alumni’s rap-fairytale Hip Hop Cinderella is both a satire on contemporary American pop culture and social media and a hopeful parable about the future of humanity. The musical is a brilliantly imaginative, futuristic romp, adapted by Linda Chichester and David Coffman and based on Scott Elmegreen’s book.
The opening transports us to a space-age world of rocket trips, wormholes and communication via Zoom, with an impressive imitation of Star Wars movie graphics. The tongue-in-cheek characterisation is decidedly camp and kitsch, poking fun at social networking’s conceits and ego games: stepmother Lady Zurka and stepsisters Zig and Zag rap It’s Zurka Time, with lines like “I’m so great, like I am so great, You all wanna hate, cuz my flow is first rate. I got the likes, and I got the right brand. Known throughout the land as Zig!!”. The haughty sisters’ put-downs of Cinderella also echo Internet bullying: “Cinder-Block ain’t got what it takes, Just taking up space, a total disgrace. She’s like, a hag. She’s kind of a drag, So sad. She’s such a ragged little pig”.
Perfect caricatures of certain types of self-absorbed, hubristic American pop culture casualties, Zig and Zag are the antithesis of Cinderella, who is a talented, intelligent, warm-hearted girl with low self-confidence. In place of Disney’s friendly mice and fairy godmother is the heroine’s faithful Runka the Robot Rapper, who defends her, boosts her self-belief and relentlessly pushes her to attend the party-loving Prince’s interplanetary rap competition to show off her musical talents. They travel to the royal host’s distant galaxy via a time-limited quantum portal, instead of a pumpkin carriage.
Hip Hop Cinderella’s songs are clever and entertaining, and the music (by Rona Siddiqui) is energising. Thought-provokingly creative writing complements the engaging and talented actors, with eye-catching, innovative graphics in the foreground and background. The overall effect is amusing and original. On first impression the work has a childlike, guileless quality, but it is in fact a witty, cutting-edge parody, a social comment, and an expression of hope for a better, kinder, more equal and diverse world.
Hip Hop Cinderella is available to stream online from 10th December until 31st January 2021. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.