This is a new production of Cinderella by David Nixon (Choreography, Direction and Costume Design) with music by Philip Feeney. Duncan Hayler provides some very impressive and cleverly used set designs which are enhanced by lighting design from Tim Mitchell.
The setting for this production of Cinderella from Northern Ballet is Imperial Russia. We start on an idyllic summer afternoon and Cinderella is celebrating her birthday with her father (Count Serebrenishska), step- mother and two step-sisters. Her father's good friends Prince and Princess Mulakov also attend the party with their son Prince Mikhail. While playing with her sisters, Cinderella's gift from her father is accidentally thrown on the other side of the river. When her father goes to retrieve this for her, he is accidentally killed. In her grief, Cinderella's step-mother comforts her two daughters, but blaming Cinderella for the death pushes her away. A young Cinderella is beautifully danced here by Antoinette Brooks Daw.
Summer passes and the family move to their new house in Moscow, but life is not as it was for Cinderella who is now no longer a daughter to the family but a servant. Events pass and Cinderella meets a magician at the winter market. The magician proves to be a pivotal figure in her life as in this re-working of the story it is the magician and not a fairy godmother who makes it possible for Cinderella to go to the ball in a beautiful outfit complete with crystal slippers, and arrive in a very impressive sled pulled by white dogs to meet and enchant her Prince .
Principal leads tonight are:
Cinderella - Martha Leebolt
Prince Mikhail - Tobias Batley
Countess Serebrenishka (Cinderella's Step-Mother) Pippa Moore
Natasha and Sofia (Cinderella's Step-Sisters) Hannah Bateman, Michela Paolacci
The Magician - Hironao Takahashi
The parts of Cinderella (Martha Leebolt) and Prince Mikhail (Tobia Batley) are beautifully danced and portrayed with real emotion that drew everyone into the fairy tale with them. Also outstanding (and holding the whole story line together) was Pippa Moore as the Step-Mother. The whole company have to be mentioned tonight though as everyone on stage provided a wonderful evening of ballet.
One of my favourite scenes from the whole ballet tonight though was a wonderful skating scene. Very clever choreography and some great talent from the dancers made you believe that they really were skating on the stage.
The Magician also entertains with some impressive close up magic and a few special effects where required.
The whole ballet is just a pleasure to watch and the music wonderful to listen to. The set design is very cleverly used to be part of the story itself.
If you get a chance, go and see this production whilst its short Edinburgh run is at The Festival Theatre. Nothern Ballet is a truly international ballet company and this wide range of talent shows through in this production.
Review by Tom King