CINDERELLA THE MIDNIGHT PRINCESS
by Charles Way.
Rose Theatre Kingston 24-26 High Street KT1 1HL To 6 January 2013.
Runs 2hr One interval.
TICKETS: 08444 821556.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 28 December.
Intriguing drama incorporates the magic of love and the power of music.
This is a neat, Mozartian piece, played on a wide, spacious stage reflecting very different qualities from the composer’s ordered elegance. Except that Mozart displayed very few of his music’s qualities, being closer to William Postlethwaite’s giggling Wolfgang.
It also seems right he never quite manages to say his full name himself, or have anyone else announce him. Though the two sisters who overshadow Cinderella here imply Wolfgang’s future (they are singers, Mozart’s wife was Constanze, with a sister called Alyosia), he spent his shortish life as a servant to the socially great. Here at least he has an appreciative friend in Sigmund, son to King Leopold.
Social pretension is the sister’s main fault, as of their mother Maria, who’s dismissive of the dressed-down Sigmund until discovering his identity. There’s a neat 18th-century feel to the idea Sigmund can just pop over the wall and visit Cinderella. And Rachel Kavanaugh’s production exploits the idea of freedom and confinement, the magical and mundane co-existing.
The king stays cooped-up in bed, demanding that any Ball take place in his bedroom, where a practically-minded Fairy Godmother shrinks Mozart’s orchestra so his music can be heard – as apt an expression of how court composers could be treated as Christmas theatre might provide.
Both sisters parade around as if they owned much more than the space that is theirs; but the creation of Cinderella’s coach and costume bring the Rose’s expanse into play, as it finally provides a starry blessing for the lovers.
An angular tree commemorates Cinderella’s dead mother, but it’s the lively spirit of Faye Castelow’s performance that animates matters with resilience and energy, angry at times, but giving life to a land where clocks have stopped amid a joyless rigidity, countering the story’s concern with midnight’s immediacy.
Onstage violinist Buffy North recurrently helps sustain mood, while Terry Davies’ music incorporates Mozartian references and structures. Aptly; for Charles Way’s script avoids developing aspects of the story in order to make room for one great irony; that Cinderella gets her Prince while true genius goes unacknowledged – adding a reflective tings to a happy ending.
Fairy Godmother: Katy Secombe.
Cinderella: Faye Castelow.
Prince Sebastian: Jack Monaghan.
Sigmund: Simon Coates.
Maria: Claire Carrie.
Alyosia: Jenny Bede.
Constanze: Laura Prior.
King Leopold: Timothy Kightley.
Wolfgang: William Postlethwaite.
Musician: Buffy North.
Director: Rachel Kavanaugh.
Designer: Ruari Murchison.
Lighting: Paul Heogan.
Sound: Matt McKenzie for Autograph.
Music: Terry Davies.
Movement: Georgina Lamb.
Assistant director: Kim Pearce.