Brand new, full scale ballet productions are always something to celebrate, especially when they are well done, as so often we are presented with productions that are well established within a company’s repertoire from years on the programme.
As Birmingham Royal Ballet come to the end of their twentieth anniversary year Director David Bintley brings the classic story of Cinderella to epic-scaled balletic life in this brand new production.
Collaborating with John F. Macfarlane, designer of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s signature piece The Nutcracker, Bintley touches on both the light, sparkling side of this fairytale whilst being unafraid to approach its darker borders through scenes such a sorrowful prologue in which we see the young Cinderella mourn the death of her mother and the evil stepmother swoop in, bat like, and whisk her father away.
Highlights of the extensive design elements, which take us through many oil painted landscapes, include the full workings of a ticking clock and a rising moon which frames our heroine and hero in their final scene together.
As our heroine, Natasha Oughtred plays a fine Cinderella in her vulnerable appearance and fine dancing style. Oughtred treats the role with frailty without being pathetic and certainly gains the trust of her audience.
Whilst a little clunky in places, the sense of character which Bintley’s choreography evokes in the protagonists of the story makes this piece stand out from other traditional ballets and does a fine job to create comedy in the ugly sisters and empathy from the plight of Cinderella.
Full to the brim with shimmering tutu’s and fairytale creatures this new production should enchant both the old and the young.
- Ben Wooldridge