BRAVO THE BALLET
The Tower Season of Cinderella
CHOREOGRAPHY Christopher Hampson
MUSIC Sergei Prokofiev
DESIGN Tracy Grant Lord
LIGHTING Nick Schlieper
at St James Theatre, Wellington
From 2 Aug 2012 to 11 Aug 2012
[2hr 20 mins including intervals]
Reviewed by Deirdre Tarrant, 8 Aug 2012
originally published in Capital Times
Cinderella is everyone's fairy tale dream, sumptuous, magical and beautiful. Rags to riches, cruel in-family fighting, beauty conquers all and happy ever after are the timeless ingredients for fantasy, and this was a real evening of swirling escapism.
Choreographer and visionary, Christopher Hampson has made this production his own. Lucy Green is pretty much the perfect Cinderella. She is assured and fragile, looks divine and sparkles both in her costuming and her dancing. Her Prince, Qi Huan, is clearly in love with her, and although he had a shaky start on opening night with a fall that amazed him as much as it did the audience, his control and partnering were assured as the story unfolded.
The Wicked Stepsisters, Adriana Harper and Clytie Campbell, were amusing in a pantomime style and the Stepmother, danced by Lucy Balfour had a little more nuance and scope in her role and used it to the full.
I saw the first version of this production in 2007 and remembered details as they appeared. The rose motif and use of pink seemed stronger throughout this time but the heavy reliance on mime and not a lot of variety in the choreography still irritated me.
The dancers were strong and cohesive and the company feels more like a team with good lines and flow of movement. What they did they did very well with good lighting by Nick Schleiper and Tracy Grant- Lord's design giving the required sparkle to every detail. The costumes moved with the bodies and Abigail Boyle as The Fairy Godmother and Medhi Angot as the Grasshopper were particularly at one with their costuming, their characterisations and their movement.
Movement motifs recurred in the sequences danced by Cinderella and her Prince and their two pas de deux closely referenced steps and repeated phrases. The evening belonged to the total experience and the Wellington Orchestra brought it all alive with Prokofiev's score and outstanding playing under the baton of Marc Taddei – himself almost a dancer as he conducts!
The younger members of the audience asked why did she not flee from the ballroom in her beautiful tutu with the sparkling shoes and really drop the shoe? Maybe adjusting the part of the story that resonates so strongly as the witching hour of midnight strikes was pushing it unnecessarily. Bravo the ballet.
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