Incredible dancing was just one of the highlights of the Northern Ballet’s performance of Cinderella. It is currently being shown at Norwich Theatre Royal and is running from the 26th of November until the 30th.
To my initial surprise and absolute pleasure, the company featured such a diverse range of dancers, and this made for much more exciting viewing. Each dancer brought something so different, from Minju Kang’s (Cinderella’s Step-mother) sense of character to Antoinette Brooks-Daw’s (Cinderella) emotive dancing.
The show started with a journey of young Cinderella on a day out with her family, when tragedy strikes and her father is killed. Rachael Gillespie played a fantastic young Cinderella, and her dance scenes with Kevin Poeung (Young Prince) were danced with such innocence and joy and made excellent viewing. When the two meet again, a few years later, Cinderella is a servant, and the prince doesn’t look twice at her. However, all of this is changed with the help of The Magician, played by Mlindi Kulashe. His on-stage presence makes him one of the most successful characters, and the portrayal of his character is phenomenal.
The story presented is fantastic, and it breaks the traditional narrative of Cinderella and turns it into something which I think is a lot more human. The Step-mother plays a grieving widow trying to get over her husband’s tragic death, and not knowing how to handle his child. She is human, and she is raw. Additionally, I liked the twist in the plot where the Step-mother actually reveals Cinderella to the prince instead of hiding her away. The story is smart and relatable, and that is what made it so special.
Each dance was perfect, with immaculate timing and fantastic stage presence. Emotion came through each and every step that was danced and overall created an amazing performance. My favourite part was the character interaction in the background and behind the dances. While group dances were being acted out, the other characters would be walking across the stage or talking to each other in the background, and this again added a fantastic dimension of realness to the performance.
The raw storyline didn’t, however, take away from the magic of the show. Beautiful set design and amazing tricks injected plenty of charm and thrill into the performance. The snowy landscape setting was incredible, with beautiful sparkles and stunning lighting. The audience was in awe at how bright each different setting was and how cleverly it was presented on stage.
Every detail was so well throughout and added so much more than just a traditional ballet. So much effort was clearly put into this performance, and it was easily one of the best Cinderella adaptations that I have ever seen.