Review: Cinderella at the Norwich Theatre Royal

With immense success in countries such as Japan, Spain, Italy and Singapore, the Russian State Ballet of Siberia once again dazzled when performing Cinderella at the Norwich Theatre Royal on the 16th of January. Though following the basic outline of the well-known story of Cinderella, this production offered far more: with rich comedy, captivating dance and exceptional acting, the performance was elevated further than a typical portrayal of the plot.

The show began with a spectacular piece of music through which the audience were introduced to The Time Heralds. The importance of time within the story was immediately made clear by the power and strength in which the Time Heralds danced. In contrast to such a mesmerising scene, a burst of comedy emerged when Cinderella (Elena Svinko) and her stepsisters (Anastasiia Osokina and Perdita-Jayne Lancaster) entered the stage with comical elements embedded within the dance. The trumpets played by the orchestra only added to the amusement in the scene and left the audience in peals of laughter. This was elevated with the entrance of Cinderella’s step mother (Pavel Kirchev) and the male actor delivered the part with such enthusiasm and boldness that he soon became the star of the show. Expression poured out of him, through his facial movements and physical performance. This representation of Cinderella’s stepmother provided an interesting interpretation of the typical portrayal of a villain.

Group dance was an extremely important element in the production, and the corps de ballet performed marvellously. Though they were on stage for a majority of the performance, delivering energetic and lively dances, their enthusiasm never faltered. They consistently performed to an extremely high standard ensuring that even when the leading roles weren’t on stage, the audience was still satisfied. The pivotal point in the story, during Cinderella’s transformation, was delivered with a reintroduction of the Time Heralds. They came to give a warning about the time limit on her transformation, and the powerful motion in which they moved appeared as almost threatening and it cast a dark tone on an otherwise light-hearted production. Having said this, the Time Heralds were the most interesting characters in the production and provided a deeper element to the performance, which elevated the ballet as a whole.

When the Prince (Marcello Pelizzoni) enters, he immediately dominates the stage, exerting power masculinity in every step. After another comedic scene with the Prince and Cinderella’s family, Cinderella and the Prince are finally introduced and take over the production with an intimacy that is expressed through their dances with one another. The choreography directed the Prince and Cinderella to mirror each other’s steps, their ability to fall in sync emphasising their connection. Svinko and Pelizzoni’s true talent shined through when they danced, casting a romantic atmosphere across the entire stage and stealing the audience’s hearts.

For the Time Heralds final performance on stage, they rush on and dramatically dance to separate the two leading roles, breaking both them and the audience out of their loving trance. To break this seriousness, the production is drawn to a near conclusion with a hilarious scene depicting the stepsisters struggling to fit in Cinderella’s shoe. Reunited, Cinderella and the Prince dance beautifully, repeating steps from their previous dances, bringing the whole production together. As the curtain rises and the performers take the bows, the audience’s claps are deafening and particularly loud cheers are delivered to the leading two and Kirchev. After the audience have applauded until they can applaud no more, the curtain falls and puts a close to a truly outstanding performance.

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Leia Butler

Leia Butler