Alexei Ratmansky’s new production of Cinderella is a winner. This is a brand new production, made on the Australian Ballet, with the score by Sergei Prokofiev (played excellently as always by Orchestra Victoria) the only thing left from the ‘traditional’ versions. There were no tutus, no pumpkins or mice or singing birds. There was still the original story of girl abused by stepmother and stepsisters, helped by Fairy Godmother (who rather strongly resembled Nanny McPhee, and was played by the ever wonderful Lynette Wills), goes to the ball, falls in love with Prince, loses shoe on way out at midnight, finds Prince at end.
The story was set in a sort of post-war Europe, so the costume and set designs (by Jérôme Kaplan) echoed somewhere between there and those of the Capitol from The Hunger Games. The colour palette used for the sets and costumes was beautiful, rich, autumnal colours, with the only black being wore by the Fairy Godmother. Projections were also used throughout the performance, mostly to great effect. I have found some projections in other works to either be tacky or gaudish or simply don’t work with the piece, but I thought that they all worked well in Cinderella, and added to the whole effect.
The mice/pumpkin, etc were replaced by the planets and various other intergalactic things, with this scene taking place at the end of the first act. I found this part very reminiscent of Act II of The Nutcracker when Clara watches the Flowers/Candy canes/Cossacks, etc dance around while something magical happens, but it was just nice and takes you away to another, more magical world, which, surely, is the purpose of the ballet.
Amber Scott was beautiful as Cinderella, and she suited the part perfectly. This is the perfect role for her and I don’t think I have ever seen her dance better or have enjoyed her performance more. Ty King-Wall was terrific as the Prince, and Amy Harris was brilliant as the Stepmother (she’s my favourite dancer to have playing ‘evil’ roles. Her Carabosse in The Sleeping Beauty is still one of the best portrayals of a character I’ve seen to date), and Ingrid Gow and Halaina Hills were very funny as the ditzy, tantrum-throwing stepsisters.
Cinderella has now closed in Melbourne, but will be playing in Sydney later in the year, and in Adelaide in 2014. An excellent night at the ballet. Don’t miss out.
These photos (and more!) at The Australian Ballet’s Facebook page.