Cinderella

December 8, 2015 | By | Reply More

★★★★☆     Enchanting

Festival Theatre: Sat 5-Thurs 31 Dec 2015
Review by Susan Lowes

Scottish Ballet’s Cinderella is an emotional and visual treat, which lights up and enchants the Festival Theatre’s stage until 31 December.

The European premiere of Christopher Hampson’s ballet, originally created for the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 2007, is wonderfully crafted. Scottish Ballet sparkles throughout – and that’s not just down to the number of sequins on the costumes.

Araminta Wraith as the Godmother with Company members as Roses in Christopher Hampson’s Cinderella. Photo: Andy Ross

Alternate cast: Araminta Wraith as the Godmother with Company members as Roses in Christopher Hampson’s Cinderella. Photo: Andy Ross

Hampson’s telling of the classic fairytale is beautiful, clever and refreshingly inventive, showing Cinderella in a new light while still remaining remarkably true to the well-known tale.

This is a production which is grounded very much in the real world. Starting with a small girl full of grief at the graveside of her mother, then, suddenly, unfolding a a world of magic and enchantment.

What is strikingly interesting in this telling however, is how separate fantasy and reality remain. The distinction between the two wonderfully brought to life through Tracy Grant Lord’s sumptuous set and costume design.

timeless grace

There’s a startling humanity to the characters and scenes of the real world, displayed wonderfully by Sophie Martin who initially plays Cinderella with a childlike innocence and grace. Her loneliness and grief are clearly evident as she adapts to her new life with her step-mother (Marge Hendrick) and step-sisters (Madeline Squire and Araminta Wraith).

Andrew Peasgood as the Prince with Sophie Martin as Cinderella in Christopher Hampson’s Cinderella. Photo: Andy Ross.

Andrew Peasgood as the Prince with Sophie Martin as Cinderella in Christopher Hampson’s Cinderella. Photo: Andy Ross.

This is contrasted with a fantastical spellbinding charm in the magical rose garden as silk moths, grasshoppers and spiders weave Cinderella’s gown for the ball. It is all accompanied by the timeless grace of Eve Mutso as The Fairy Godmother, appearing in her final production for the company.

Here the design elements and Prokofiev’s inspirational score combine with Mutso’s elegant precision to produce a calm, serene and reassuring effect that absolutely steals the show. There’s magic on the stage and it’s not just from the fairytale.

It’s not surprising then that Cinderella emerges a whole new girl – Martin shows her confidence and self-assurance as she dances in beautiful harmony at the Ball with Andrew Peasgood a her Princely soulmate. The bond between the two continues to grow until the completely emotionally connected climax.

lurid and garish

However, certain elements of the production don’t quite fit when set against this emotionally mature backdrop. Squire and Wraith as the step-sisters are lurid and garish, playing their parts with an almost slapstick pantomime comedy in the first two acts.

Bethany Kingsley-Garner (Cinderella), Sophie Laplane (Stepmother), Eve Mutso (Tall Stepsister) and Sophie Martin (Short Stepsister in Christopher Hampson’s Cinderella. Photo by Andy Ross.jpg

Alternate cast: Bethany Kingsley-Garner (Cinderella), Sophie Laplane (Stepmother), Eve Mutso (Tall Stepsister) and Sophie Martin (Short Stepsister)  in Christopher Hampson’s Cinderella. Photo by Andy Ross

While it undoubtedly takes a tremendous amount of skill to dance against their classical training, it’s overacted and feels slightly out of place. However, there is more humanity to the duo in the third act – in keeping with the real world created in the production.

That’s not to say there isn’t place for comedy in this show though. Matthew Broadbent’s comedic subtlety as the drunken, confused Father seems much more appropriate.There are also moments of pure delight that will have you laughing with glee – particularly at the beginning of Act Three as the Prince searches for his soulmate.

There’s so much to love in the Scottish Ballet’s production of Cinderella. It’s stunning, spellbinding and surprising in equal measure – but, above all, it’s very well performed. If you’re looking for a truly magical Christmas show then look no further.

Running time 2 hours 15 minutes including two intervals
Festival Theatre, 13/29 Nicolson Street EH8 9FT
Saturday 5 – Thursday 31 December 2015
Evenings at 7:30pm, Matinees Thurs, Sat and Wed 23 and 30 Dec: 2pm
Tickets and further details from: http://www.edtheatres.com/cinderella
Scottish Ballet website: http://www.scottishballet.co.uk/

Scottish Ballet’s Cinderella on tour:
Sat 5 – Thu 31 Dec 2015 Edinburgh
Festival Theatre
0131 529 6000 Book online
Tue 12 – Sat 16 Jan 2016 Glasgow
Theatre Royal
0844 871 7647 Book online
Wed 20 – Sat 23 Jan 2016 Aberdeen
His Majesty’s Theatre
01224 641122 Book online
Wed 27 – Sat 30 Jan 2016 Inverness
Eden Court
01463 234 234 Book online

ENDS

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