A revival of Scottish Ballet‘s 2005 interpretation by Artistic Director Ashley Page, Cinderella is a visually striking and beautifully choreographed production of the classic fairytale – with the welcome addition of some humour as wicked as Cinders’ evil stepmother herself.
Set in a mashup of 18th century France, pop art styling and modern references, the world of Cinderella is a unique and immediately appealing one. Costumes spill from shoulders like flamboyant day-glo wedding cakes, whilst Anthony McDonald’s design and staging have some clever touches which evoke the magic of the tale in all the right places, enhanced by Peter Mumford’s catwalk-style lighting.
Into this world dance the colourful cast of familiar characters, from the fragile grace of Sophie Martin’s Cinderella, to the prancing posturings of her maliciously vain stepsisters (Kara McLaughlin and Sophie Lambert). Performances from all the principals are good, Vassilissa Levtonova’s gliding en pointe Godmother another standout. Adam Blyde as the Prince also impresses, particularly in those scenes where he and Martin dance together, the fluidity and grace of their movements capturing the fairytale romance of their pairing.
The ensemble pieces are also strong: from the well-choreographed ballroom scenes featuring the entire company; to the ethereal and evocative sequence where Cinderella realises she shall go to the ball after all, aided by the Godmother, the turning Cogs of time and the fairies of the seasons (Tomomi Sato’s performance as Spring a highlight, filled with all the energy and bursting vibrance of the season she depicts).
The humour is a welcome addition, helping to make the production accessible to young and old; ballet veterans and newcomers alike. The preposterous preenings of the Stepmother (Eve Mutso) and her daughters is a constant joy to watch and one or two fourth wall-breaking moments of self-reference generate much laughter from the audience.
All of this is backed by an accomplished performance of Prokofiev’s atomspheric score by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra, under Richard Honner’s conductership, adding the final musical flourishes to an enjoyable whole.
A joyful and visually stunning production with ever-watchable performances and staging, Cinderella is well worth skipping the household chores for, before the magic disappears from the stage of the Festival Theatre on Saturday.
Cinderella runs until Sat 15th January at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre. Further information and tickets are available online.