Director Christopher Gable has delved into darker versions of the fairy tale--such as that of the Grimm brothers--and offers a psychological perspective, where cruelty, disaster, brutality, and even a hint of incest pepper up the slippered tale. All expected stuff from NBT (celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary this year), which revels in theatricality and boldness by presenting new looks at old favorites.
In the ballet's first moments, Cinderella's brother falls to his death, and her mother dies of a broken heart. Next, Cinderella is caught daydreaming in the kitchen and is subjected to a vicious attack of hair-pulling from her stepsisters; later, the toes of one sister are chopped off by the stepmother, anxious to see her fit the spangled slipper. But finally all three malefactors get their comeuppance when a flock of rooks, in shiny black PVC jackets, corner them and peck out their eyes.
But enough of the nasty bits, for there is much to commend. This Cinderella is dramatically compelling, cleverly and economically designed around a high-sided, boxlike shiny set (where panels open and shut as the scene requires), and, though a bit long, it's jolly good entertainment.
Full honors go to Jayne Regan, who, as Cinderella, was hardly ever off the stage. Her eloquent and unforced technique and natural, convincing acting brought the character to life. With no fairy godmother, it was her dead brother (compassionately portrayed by Omar Gordon), and later her mother, whose spirits guided Cinderella to happiness.
As the Prince, William Walker offered both flashy display and tender, careful partnering. Victoria Westall gave us an evil, calculating Stepmother, while Lorena Vidal and Graciela Kaplan were suitably irritable and silly as the Stepsisters. Philip Feeney's music, eclectic in sound and instruments, was specially commissioned and suited the ballet well. And for the romantic, there was a glittering, bright white wedding finale with rose petals falling from the roof like snow.
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|Title Annotation:||Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, England|
|Article Type:||Dance Review|
|Date:||Mar 1, 1995|
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