You might think that a telling of the story of Cinderella with its gender roles reversed was a thoroughly modern invention. Not so.
The Sidcup Operatic Society's latest production, Mr Cinders, was first performed in the late 1920s and is said to reflect the dying gasps of the 'roaring twenties' before the Great Depression set in. There may be a connection too with the fact that the Representation of the People Act 1928 had just extended the voting franchise in the UK to all women over the age of 21, granting women the vote on the same terms as men for the first time.
Yet despite the influence of social change, the show is a fairytale comedy musical and aims to entertain. The story is an inversion of the Cinderella fairy tale with the gender roles reversed - the Prince Charming character has become a modern (1928) young and forceful woman, and Mr. Cinders is a menial.
See the story of Cinderella turned on its head set in the 1920s on 12-14 October at the Bob Hope Theatre, Eltham in south-east London at 7:30pm with Saturday matinee at 2:30pm. Tickets are £13.50 (£11.50 concessions Thurs/ Sat matinee) and are available by calling 020 8301 2681, the web via the Bob Hope Theatre or visiting the White Hart pub in Eltham. If you call the above number, kids can come to the matinee for just £5 and group discounts are available.
While almost a hundred years later, housework is still overwhelmingly done by women, it will be interesting to see the role reversal re-imagined in those early years of female emancipation. The Sidcup Operatic Society claim to be the only society to perform this show in the entire country in 2017 so it’s an opportunity not to be missed.