Top positive review
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Looks like Cinderella Feels like Cinderella
on 7 November 2011
I have always found the music of Cinderella as one of Prokofiev's fascinating compositions, although the general opinion decades ago was that it was more of a Children's thingy. The ballet too, was relegated to the realm of slapstick and in some cases, experimented with to the point of Eurotrashy type of approach.(I have had the Fredrick Ashton choreographed version starring Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell for some time and enjoyed it tremendously - The Paris version disappointed horribly - The Monte Carlo version is Morose).
I would rate this one even better than the 1969 Royal Ballet production and many others for a few reasons:
1. Prokofiev's music points to a work that is complex. It is a mixture of fantasy, comedy, romance and quiet desperation. This production has less of slapstick and more of substance, quite unlike the Ashton production portrays in its approach.
2. There is some slapstick in this one too, but of the more subtle and difficult kind that Dumpy has brought out so well that she is really my star of this production....Skinny and stepmother are not too far behind...
3. They did not cast men as ugly sisters to make them look ugly. The ugliness brought out by Skinny (Gaylene Cummerfield) and Dumpy (Carol-Anne Millar) are those of their 'mind and attitude' - which makes them ugly rather than their physical attributes... The faulty footwork of Dumpy needs a lot of effort and work, and she has pulled it off brilliantly (Something like Alain in La Fille Mal Gardee)...Marion Tait as the stepmother is a wonderful actror which does a world of good for the ballet as a whole... her meanness is beautifully portrayed.
3.Elisha Willis dances the role of Cinderella and Iain Mackay portrays the Prince. Both are really good in their roles, nothing to complain....
4.Choreographer David Bintley shows far more maturity in his approach towards this work than any others I have seen. The sets, by John Macfarlane, are excellent and go well with the ballet and thankfully, they both have refrained from trying to make the ballet fit a different period and is thankfully devoid stuff and nonsense from the 22nd century or eurotrash. (The Paris version locates the story in Hollywood ...The Prince is a movie star and the Fairy Godmother a producer!)
5. The music is well performed and the recording and video are superb.
Well done, Birmingham... far better than was probably expected and certainly trumps most other productions of Cinderella by quite a few yards, although some music, therefore dance, has been deleted in this version. I did not miss those too much.
A Blu Ray that satisfies beautifully.... recommended highly.