Very pretty and quite classical, choreographer and director David Bintley CBE waves his magic wand to create an enchanting 20th anniversary piece for Birmingham Royal Ballet.
His Cinderella is a spectacle of tinsel and twinkle with drama and pantomimic slapstick – in fact something to delight the whole family. Given that Matthew Bourne’s version is touring at the same time, it is a relief that the two pieces are not at all similar with Bourne being somewhat dark and quirky, and Bintley’s offering glitter and tradition.
John F MacFarlane’s absolutely superb sets provide apposite backdrops while David Finn’s lighting creates atmosphere in the gloomy graveyard; stark, shabby kitchen; dreamy skyscapes; grand palace ballroom and moonlit gardens.
Elisha Willis delicately and consistently portrays the downtrodden titular barefoot skivvy and, with her buoyant Prince Iain Mackay, performs a particularly captivating pas de deux at the ball.
Carole-Anne Millar, complete with fat suit, and Gaylene Cummerfield are to ballet as Les Dawson was to piano as the bullying and man-hungry Ugly Sisters Dumpy and Skinny with the dancing lesson with Alexander Campbell of particular note. Excellent timing, synchronicity and technical ability combine wonderfully for a guaranteed smile or nine.
BRB Ballet Mistress Marion Tate CBE steps up as the cane-wielding wicked step-mother with Victoria Marr as her counterpoint the Fairy Godmother resplendent in shimmery silver and electric shock hair.
Bintley chooses the Seasons (with Laetitia Lo Sardo particularly memorable as Winter) and Stars tradition with the corps de ballets swirling and twirling in beautiful, intricate shapes. And particularly stunning is the countdown to midnight as all dancers become part of the machinery.
With the Royal Ballet Sinfonia under the tight control of conductor Paul Murphy with Robert Gibbs as Leader, Sergei Prokofiev’s soaring score is given full throttle.
I couldn’t end without mentioning the fabulous frog (James Barton), lizards (Valentin Olovyannikov and Jonathan Payn) and mice (the young Jade Gibson and Helena Maude from the Elmhurst School for Dance).