Scene I – The Café de Paris
The music starts, and slowly the blackout lifts and begins to reveal the Angel in a collapsed and recently bombed out ballroom. Bodies of dancing couples are strewn around the wreckage. The mirror ball has crashed to the ground and glowing embers still smoke on the ground around it.
Having surveyed the devastation, the Angel begins to magically reverse time and we witness the mirror ball rising back in to the air as the ballroom springs back to life again, along with its guests. Slowly transforming back to its former glory, we see the men and women that had been killed by the air raid, dancing ‘en mass’ in couples.
Sybil, Cinderella’s stepmother, enters down a glittering red staircase. She is greeted by Alphonso, The Bandleader who leads her to join in the dancing. The sound of a distant air-raid is heard outside. The dancers stop in panic whilst the sound of bombs dropping in the distance interrupts the music. From the top of the stairs the Bandleader signals an all-clear message to his guests and the dance floor erupts once more into vibrant dancing.
A fanfare announces the arrival of The Pilot, Harry, along with his friends Tom and Dick. The Pilot is now transformed into a dashing, handsome, movie-star like hero, and the crowd swoons with admiration. The three servicemen dance an energetic trio before they are chased into another part of the ballroom by their adoring fans.
The Angel enters the now empty dance floor alone. As he stands beneath the Café de Paris sign, couple re-enter the space, moving slowly and in a dream-like trance. At the top of the staircase appears Cinderella. Almost unrecognisable from before; she is dressed in a sumptuous white gown, with her hair and make-up done; looking like an elegant film star.
Steadily descending and staring straight ahead, she appears almost to be sleepwalking until the Angel ‘opens her eyes’. The first thing Cinderella sees is the dashing Harry. We can tell that it is love at first sight for both of them, and after circling around one another they begin a grand waltz, before peeling off and settling at tables on opposite sides of the dance floor.
Sybil reappears and makes an instant beeline for Harry, whilst her daughters Irene and Vivien flirt with Tom and Dick. Harry reluctantly, agrees to dances with Sybil. They are joined by Irene and Vivien, with Tom and Dick, who begin to dance a mazurka. Cinderella has meanwhile been entertained by the Bandleader and the other men, after which, the Bandleader asks her to dance. Overwhelmed by both her beauty and the way she dances all of the servicemen take turns to try and partner her.
It is evident that she is the main attraction – desired by all the men, and a clear threat to all the women there. However, Cinderella only has eyes for Harry, and they disappear off into the night together leaving the family to carry on drinking and dancing the night away.
Scene II – Harry’s Lodgings
The Angel carries Cinderella away from Harry, but time and time again she tries to return to her lover. Then as the twelve chimes of midnight sound, we see what appear to be flashbacks of Cinderella’s tragic existence at the hands of her cruel family. We journey through past events and see that is was Sybil who had shot and injured Cinderella’s father Robert, leaving him wheelchair-bound.
Harry walks around, smoking a cigarette, whilst he tucks a sleeping Cinderella up with a blanket, and we see that the pair have spent the night together. As Harry puts on his watch and gets ready to leave, Cinderella awakes. She begs him to stay and they fall into a gentle, heartfelt and tender duet which ends with them both lying on the bed together.
The Angel appears to Cinders to remind her that time is running out. A giant clock signals the countdown towards midnight and Cinderella tries desperately to wake Harry from his slumber.
The Angel becomes an Angel of death, and his dramatic movements seem to be causing destruction all around him. As the clock chimes midnight, we return to the moment in Act I when bombs fell outside Cinderella’s house and she was injured. There is devastation everywhere, and we see Cinderella being carried off on a stretcher.
From amidst the smoke and rubble we spot Harry, the injured Pilot, struggling through the wreckage, seemingly looking for someone. He bends down amongst the debris and discovers Cinderella’s silver shoe. This act ends with Harry falling to the ground on his knees, overcome with hopelessness and grief, as he suspects she may be lost to him forever.