REVIEW: Cinderella by Birmingham Royal Ballet at Mayflower, Southampton

Birmingham Royal Ballet's Cinderella. Picture by Bill CooperBirmingham Royal Ballet's Cinderella. Picture by Bill Cooper
Birmingham Royal Ballet's Cinderella. Picture by Bill Cooper
Comprising three acts, Cinderella is lavish: lavish costumes, lavish sets and lavish choreography by company director David Bintley.

The Royal Ballet Sinfonia give a beautiful performance of Sergei Prokofiev’s music bringing the ballet to life.

Act One introduces the characters. Cinderella’s pain as she attempts to protect her mother’s dancing slippers is obvious as is her compassion as she gives them to a poor old lady to keep her feet warm. This poor old lady becomes the fairy spirit of Cinderella’s mother, and as her fairy godmother, she summons the seasons who transform Cinderella so she can go to the ball. Momoko Hirata in the title role dances on demi pointe for the entire first act. Her exquisite lightness of foot is a direct contrast to that of the stepsisters en pointe.

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A special mention has to go to Laura Purkiss who danced Dumpy, one of the stepsisters, to absolute perfection. Her comedy timing and acting were simply divine.

The sets, although simple, effectively move the story from kitchen to ballroom to the happily ever after. The coming together of the clock at the end of Act Two symbolically signals the disintegration of the magical world in a powerful way.

Act Three sees the search of the Prince – danced by Joseph Caley – for his beloved, and we are not disappointed, watching them fall in love all over again.

Our familiarity with the story makes this accessible for young and old, for connoisseurs or ballet novices. This feelgood fairy tale is highly recommended.

Until January 28.