In the opening sequence of the Scottish
This is a dreamy Cinderella, capturing the essence and the magic of the fairy tale.
Christopher Hampson’s Cinderella was originally created for the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 2007. The production is unconditionally uplifting, featuring first class performances, gorgeous costumes and exquisite sets, all against the backdrop of Prokofiev’s stirring score. This is a dreamy Cinderella, capturing the essence and the magic of the fairy tale.
The production is suffused with bright, earthy garden colours; pinks, greens and yellows dominate and a gilded, golden frame frames the action. The scenes in which Cinderella interacts with her fairy godmother take place in an enchanted, colourful rose garden, where the picturesque art nouveau backdrop is dominated by twisting, curving tree. This enchanted garden is presented as Cinderella’s haven; the only characters to visit the garden are Cinderella, the godmother and, at the end, her prince. Unsurprisingly some of the productions most memorable moments take place in this dreamlike garden, such as when Araminta Wraith’s gentle fairy godmother is assisted by a garden of roses, brought to life by the corps de ballet wearing gorgeous costumes by designer Tracy Grant Lord.
Central to the production’s success is Bethany Kingsley-Garner as Cinderella: she infuses the role with humbleness and optimism and performs throughout with a winning smile. The result is the audience route for Cinderella from the beginning and her happy ending is as delightful as it ought to be.
Other standouts are principal dancers and Scottish Ballet veterans Sophie Martina and Eve Mutso, who play the roles of Cinderella’s stepsisters with humour, talent and flair. Although this Cinderella begins with a funeral, it is a production that does not dwell on the dark side of the story and the stepsisters are largely humorous and fun characters. In fact Martin, who plays the younger of the two sisters, gets her own endearing happy ending.
The production’s sense of the magical and its gorgeous aesthetic reaches a height in Act II, in which Cinderella goes to the ball. A host of twinkling stars, a rose-like moon and a two-toned pink and black set form the backdrop to this standout Act, which features some of the best dancing in the show. The dancing between Cinderella enters, the belle of the ball in her gorgeous cream-coloured, Swarovski-encrusted tutu, and the prince is breathtaking.
Scottish Ballet’s Cinderella is an enchanting, gorgeous production and a must-see this festive season. This is a truly magical piece of theatre, sure to linger in the mind long after you have left the theatre.