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Northern Ballet's Cinderella ( Lyceum Theatre)

Northern Ballet's adaptation of the classic fairy-tale is both "mysterious and magical"

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

On a cold November's night, this spectacular, modern adaptation of the classic fairy-tale, Cinderella, breathed the first dose of Christmas spirit into my Scrooge-like mind.

Northern Ballet dancers Martha Leebolt and Tobias Batley in David Nixon's Cinderella
© Bill Cooper

Set in Imperial Russia, the ambience is cold, mysterious and magical. Duncan Hayler's set design is both regal and lavish. From crowded markets, magicians and extravagant ballrooms; we are transported to a foreign land rich in colour and atmosphere.

I normally review productions which involve speaking, interaction and humour. I was amazed at how the ballerinas conveyed emotion, conversation and internal thoughts through graceful dance in silence. I think that already knowing the storyline helped me to follow the story's progression, but following the dancers' moves, the eerie and at times haunting live soundtrack from the Northern Ballet Sinfonia was so captivating that I did not miss any verbal exchanges.

Jessica Morgan, as Cinderella's Stepmother delivered the bitterness and hatred of her character towards Cinderella with icy glares and staccato hand gestures. The ‘Ugly sisters' were both nasty and jealous of Cinders and their body language and mocking laughter served to alienate her from the family group, in addition to her confinement in the cellar.

Most impressive was the pre-interval scene of Cinders leaving for the Prince's Ball, the ice skating scene and the market scene. Cinders leaves for the Ball in a sleigh-type carriage, pulled by ballerinas dressed as huskies (who danced to perfection despite their cumbersome costumes).

The market scene sees the introduction of the Magician (aka the Fairy Godmother). This wise and gifted man entertains the locals with magic tricks and a dancing bear, but most importantly uses his magic wisely to enable Cinderella's attendance at the Ball.

The Crystal Lake was breath-taking as the expert dancer's glided across the stage with their feet barely touching the floor to give the illusion of ice-skating. The agility and prowess of the company is unmistakable and spell binding; making the leaps, rolls and balances in the performance look easy and effortless.

This production is only at the Lyceum Theatre Sheffield until Saturday 29 November so get your tickets quick for this pre-Christmas treat - and you shall go to the Ball!