BIRMINGHAM ROYAL BALLET - CINDERELLA (DVD)
Birmingham Royal Ballet’s award-winning chief choreographer, David Bintley, creates his own stunning new Cinderella fairy story, returning to the essence of the 17th-century original.
Elisha Willis’s forlorn and palely loitering Cinders is brutally treated by her two bullying stepsisters in their mouldering kitchen, encouraged by their wicked witch of a mother, the wonderfully Cruella De Vil-like Marion Tait. The sisters, Skinny (Gaylene Cummerfield) and Dumpy (Carol-Anne Millar, having fun in a fat suit) tread a nimble line between comedy and nastiness, while never descending to caricature. Their raucous behaviour, as they attempt to attract the attention of every eligible bachelor they see, is brought to life with hilariously faulty footwork. And the regal revelling at the ball is given a modern edge as the dancers enjoy a cup cake or two. But the show is made truly heartwarming through the vision of Cinderella’s suffering being transformed into deserved joy as she meets her Prince and lives happily ever after.
Designer John Macfarlane has conjured up a magical world to bring this much-loved fairytale to life. After a terrific opening, he transforms the potently grim kitchen into a dream-like, star-speckled fantasia-cum nightmare: a friendly giant frog and a pair of lively lizards help dress Cinderella for the ball; the glittering carriage, like spun sugar, folds itself together; and Cinderella vanishes at the stroke of midnight through the whirring mechanism of a simply amazing clock. The piece ends with a vast celestial body melting onto the stage.
Koen Kessels draws splendid playing from the Royal Ballet Sinfonia.
- Cinderella: Elisha Willis
- The Prince: Iain Mackay
- Skinny: Gaylene Cummerfield
- Dumpy: Carol-Anne Millar
- Cinderella’s Stepmother: Marion Tait
- The Fairy Godmother: Victoria Marr
Director and Choreographer: David Bintley
Set and Costume Designer: John F MacFarlane