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Cinderella review at Festival Theatre, Edinburgh – ‘audacious and inventive’

Bethany Kingsley-Garner and Christopher Harrison in Cinderella at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh. Photo: Andy Ross Bethany Kingsley-Garner and Christopher Harrison in Cinderella at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh. Photo: Andy Ross
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Audacious, inventive and delicately played on every level, Scottish Ballet has found a stunning new Cinderella to add to its repertoire. Artistic director Christopher Hampson created it for the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 2007, but it still feels fresh in its new incarnation.

Choreographically, this is big and complex – the key pas-de-deux and scenes with the corps-de-ballet are both demanding on the dancers and measured in their delivery. But it is in the telling of the story that Hampson really sets the ballet apart.

There is a delicate strength here, caught perfectly by Sophie Martin’s precise by sorrowful Cinderella. It’s also echoed in a lilting and uplifting delivery of the score under the baton of Jean-Claude Picard.

Though it’s the story of a girl resigned through sorrow to the beastliness of her stepsisters and vile stepmother, Madeline Squire’s Short Stepsister has a gaucheness to her that is endearing, while the Araminta Wraith’s Tall Stepsister is much more their mother’s minion.

Eve Mutso, in her final season with the company, is a graceful, articulate Fairy Godmother, drawing Cinderella into her fairy world to be transformed by Thomas Kendall’s bouncing Grasshopper, silk moths and spiders.

But it is in the Act II ball that this shows its true credentials. If Andrew Peasgood is not quite up to the choreography yet, his Prince is a lonely individual, trapped in the crowd of his court. The whole scene is a tension between the various duetists – the Step Sisters’ choreography is particularly craftily evolved – and the corps.

Tracy Grant Lord’s designs, from the Stepmother’s ostentatiously vulgar underwear to the delicate rose tutus and the modern, pink and black two-tone dresses at the ball are just the icing on a cake that will endure as long as the company cares to keep it in its repertoire.

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Delicate version of Cinderella delivers a judiciously modified narrative and some outstanding choreography