Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
Until December 31;
then touring until January 30
Reviewed by Mark Brown
Poor Cinders! Not only has her mother died an untimely death and her hapless father allowed his new wife to make a domestic slave of her, but the handsome prince has dropped her mid-pas de deux.
So it was on the opening night of Scottish Ballet’s new Christmas show. Thankfully, however, Bethany Kingsley-Garner, who danced Cinderella excellently throughout, recovered splendidly from the momentary lapse of concentration of the unfortunate Prince (Christopher Harrison).
Indeed, Ms Kingsley-Garner’s skill and grace epitomised this European premiere of Christopher Hampson’s rendering of Prokofiev’s famous ballet. First staged by the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 2007, Hampson’s choreography for the great fairytale is charming, intelligent and innovative.
In a world of beauty – in which everything, from the rose moon to the enchanted garden and the splendid royal ball, is a visual delight – Cinderella’s Stepmother (Sophie Laplane) and Stepsisters (Eve Mutso and Sophie Martin) provide a bleak and comic contrast. Laplane is decidedly witch-like as she callously directs a servant to take down a portrait of Cinders’s late mother.
For their parts, the Stepsisters are so hideously gaudy and clumsy that they seem almost to have been borrowed from a pantomime version of the story. Mutso and Martin show exceptional balletic skill as their oafish characters attempt to impress the assembled gentry with their disastrous dance moves.
Scottish audiences can be thankful that Hampson has kept his ballet’s original set and costume designs by New Zealand designer Tracy Grant Lord. As stylish and full of contrasts as the choreography, they are particularly memorable in their casting of the Fairy Godmother (Araminta Wraith) as a magical Earth Mother in charge of beautifully costumed garden creatures.
Delicate, sumptuous and, where required, hilariously uncouth, this Cinderella seems set to be another festive hit for Scottish Ballet.
For tour details visit: scottishballet.co.uk
This review was originally published in the Sunday Herald on December 13, 2015
© Mark Brown