I was somewhat apprehensive about seeing this ballet, as the last time I saw this company, the lady dancers were very much better than the men; the men seemed only to be able to hold the ladies hands and they did not do a very good job of that. Well I was very pleasantly surprised to see the technical level of the dancing has improved dramatically. While the dancing is not spectacular and there are instances when some of the dancers were out of step, the production is very watchable.
Costumes are simple and are obviously produced on a limited budget, but I felt they looked right. The heads on the mice and the cat in the opening scene look like they are made using papier-mache and a balloon, but for me this added to the charm. I especially liked the cat, but then I have a big soft spot for cats. Miss Cat has some obvious but fun mime here. Predictably the two ugly sisters are danced by men; un-predictably one spends quite a time on pointe. Nice to see this normally female territory invaded. He looked quite stable if a little un-dainty! Since he is an ugly sister, it works very well.
Scene two is set in a garden with satyrs (maybe fauns) and nymphs. I can't say I remember these appearing in the story that Dad read to me as he tucked me up all those years ago. As a stand-alone scene it works very well, but I felt it detracted from the overall flow of the story. Having said that, I felt this scene had some of the strongest dancing, especially from the two bare-chested satyrs. Cinderella pops up in a tutu.
At the end of act one, the curtain only half closed, leaving some embarrassed nymphs trying to drag it shut. Oh well! Technical problems happen in most theatres at some stage. This did leave the audience confused; was this the interval ?
Act two opens with ladies arriving at the ball; not a chap in sight. Simple coloured dresses and white powder wigs. Liked the frocks, hated the wigs. Adelina (the cat) pops up in her party red bow. Once in the ballroom there is a fun pas-de-four with the two ugly sisters, Dandini (the Prince's sarvent) and an officer. Both couples mirror, but one has the lady lifting the man. An obvious joke, but the audience loved it. Ramiro has a long solo which I felt was well danced. No fireworks but watchable. The clock strikes twelve and the party continues. No sign of mice or pumpkins. Eventually Cinderella exits and the Fairy Godmother tosses out a ballet shoe, which Ramiro (the Prince) scoops up.
Scene two is back at kitchen for the shoe fitting. Everything here is obvious. The final scene is a series of divertissements with the ladies in white and gold tutus, Cinderella in a similar tutu and tiara, and Ramiro has acquired a jacket. The officer's solos here are very well executed (Allegro and Allegretto say the program), and I especially liked the Fairy Godmother's Canzone.
The final pdd for Cinderella and Ramiro included the highest lift I have ever seen. Cinders is basically sitting on Ramiro's hand, which is at full stretch over-head; sorry but I don't know the proper name for this and my description is very inadequate. There was a definite "ooooh" from the audience at this point. The final scene leaves the ballet on a high, which is no bad thing. The audience was largely children, and they liked what they saw (and so did I). Probably this is a good ballet to take your young kids to, although is might be a bit long for them.
This was my first Cinderella production, so I cannot identify the choreography or the music; neither are listed in the program. The music was very Rossini-ish (I doubt that helps anyone identify it). A quite Internet search reveals at least 10 scores for Cinderella, and Rossini wasn't one of them. Perhaps someone out there in cyberspace has seen this production and can fill in the gaps.
Strongest of the ladies was Fairy Godmother and Adelina, who later appears in white and gold tutu. I think I have seen her dance before, but I cannot remember where.
Cast list according to glossy program (no nightly cast list was visible, so I cannot be sure I saw the following people)
Cinderella - Lorena Fernandez Saez; Ramiro - Julian Angalliu; Dandini - Alex Grant; Step Mother - Hazel Gold;
Clorinda - Hugh Rathbone; Thisbe - Ian Mackenzie Stewart; Adelina - Barbra Morris-Costas; Fairy Godmother - Laura Paisley