CINDERELLA: Music Sergei Prokofiev
Birmingham Royal Ballet at the Birmingham Hippodrome
Runs: 2h, two intervals, till Sun 9 December
Review: Alexander Ray, 27 11 12
Looking good, very good.
David Bintley’s 2010 production of CINDERELLA is in beautiful form presented once again at the Hippodrome in Birmingham.
To say ‘It looks beautiful’ should not be taken to imply that it’s not danced beautifully – because it is. But this is a stylish CINDERELLA, full of subtlety as well as surprises and delightful comedy (the two sisters usually have more than a hand in this.)
Seeing the production again, the intimacy of the piece is striking – the ball scene, of course, excepted. But this is very much a domestic story – a stereotypical fairy story given a fresh edge.
Cinderella’s appearance in coach at the end of Act I is sensational, both in its surprise and in it’s simplicity – an image to carry through the interval. The Act II ball is a bit of a shock in that all guests are dressed in black – colours are hinted at in accessories, under-skirts and so on. Again, a move away from the expected. The shift, too, enables the Sisters to stand out in one way, their mother in another (deep scarlet) while the Prince and Cinderella are in white. It’s all boldly elegant.
Nao Sakuma is a charming Cinderella; innocent and kindly, a warmth shines through in her dancing. Iain Mackay is a fine fellow of a Prince – wholesome, strong and graceful. I particularly like the shape Sakuma and Mackay bring to their duets – a shape that weaves a thread through Acts II and III. In the ball they are about style, dancing as partners, but as the dance moves towards its conclusion they tenderly merge. The final moments of Act III are moving, freed from sentimentality, offer us a big image of true love – which we are allowed, since it is fiction.
Much delight is to be had from the plethora of animals in the kitchen. And Victoria Marr and Angela Paul (sisters Skinny and Dumpy) raise many a smile and several laughs.
Choreography: David Bintley
Designs: Jon MacFarland
Lighting: David A Finn
Conductor: Paul Murphy