With the performance of Cinderella in Hollywood, the Norwich Theatre Royal was treated to yet another theatrical world premiere, this time drawing inspiration from the 1950s. The show is inspired by the glamorous allure of Hollywood’s film studios and the fairy-tale-esque story of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainer of Monaco, who met at a press party and later married. Setting this to the theme of the fairy-tale Cinderella, now in its 20th year, the English Youth Ballet’s aim is to develop ballet performances outside of London and give young dancers the chance to perform in a professional setting.
As it is to be expected with a youth company, there were a few stumbles throughout the performance. However, what the younger members of the cast lacked in technical ability was certainly made up for in cuteness. The show as a whole was average – I wouldn’t rush to see it again, but it certainly wasn’t bad.
These inconsistencies may have worked very much in their favour overall; from younger children newer to the world of performance, to teenagers clearly growing with confidence and older members of the cast, who were nothing short of outstanding, the diversity in the cast allowed one to appreciate a wide range of skills on display. They all shared the stage with exceptional international lead dancers, who guided us beautifully through the story we all know so well.
I would question some of the stylistic choices, as some of the costumes didn’t seem to fit the theme, the lighting was more panto than dance orientated and the choice of characters differing from the original story was bold. However, it all seemed to pay off.
Part of the audience, the newly appointed Lord Mayor of Norwich, Cllr Martin Schmierer, managed to steal the audience’s attention for a moment after the performance to congratulate the dance company. He highlighted the bright future that the young dancers’ current path promised, and how much they had to offer to Norwich and perhaps the rest of the country.
Cllr Schmierer was joined on stage by representatives of the English Youth Ballet and the Jenny Lind Children’s Hospital (based at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital) to launch the dance company’s fundraising appeal for the children’s unit, which is the second oldest in the country and receives donations on its online fundraising page here. The matron from the ward compared the dancers to the fantastic nurses that work with children from across the region, as they need the stamina to stay on their feet all day and wear smiles no matter what.
Indeed, what did shine through was the professionalism of each member of the cast, who danced with constant smiles on their faces. If something went wrong, they would continue regardless and act like nothing happened.
Cinderella in Hollywood was performed at the Norwich Theatre Royal on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th May.