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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

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.

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

Production Information

Production
Cinderella
Venue
Festival Theatre
City
Edinburgh
Starts
December 5, 2015
Ends
December 31, 2015
Press night
January 30, 2016
Composer
Sergei Prokofiev
Artistic director
Christopher Hampson
Choreographer
Christopher Hampson
Set
Tracy Grant Lord
Lighting
George Thomson
Costume
Tracy Grant Lord
Technical
George Thomson (technical director), Caro Harkness (head of wardrobe)
Production manager
Tim Palmer
Cast includes
Sophie Martin, Andrew Peasgood, Madeline Squire, Araminta Wraith, Marge Hendrick, Eve Mutso, Matthew Broadbent
Producer
Scottish Ballet
Running time
2hrs 10mins