at The Grand Opera House Belfast
until Saturday 8th November 2014
Ballet is an exquisite form of communication when it is performed by an excellent company and Northern Ballet is certainly an excellent company who know how to tell a tale.
This is a story well told. There’s no doubt about the bullying nature of Cinderella’s stepmother (Jessica Morgan) and how she humiliates the girl; although the two ugly sisters are far from ugly (Hannah Bateman and Rachael Gillespie) there is that cruel tension between them and Cinders.
But it’s the relationship between Cinderella (Martha Leebolt) and her prince charming that provide the emotion. Prince (Tobias Batley) is tall, muscular and handsome and a great partner for the etherial girl, he lifts her high and they dance with an obvious sympathy, there’s definitely a connection between these dancers that brings their characters to life.
Although the dancers are always the centre piece, the set is quite magical, the winter market in Moscow is buzzing, there’s a dancing bear and with attention to detail, the dancer tumblers and clowns went to circus school to learn their skills and it was hard luck that one of the Magician’s (Hironao Takahashi) tricks didn’t work – I bet it does tomorrow. But he did magic three wonderful huskies to drag the sleigh which transported our young heroin to the ball.
The Crystal Lake is beautiful to behold and the dancers appear to be skating on the ice. The costumes are fabulous, the white ‘fur’ coats worn by stepmother and her daughters would disappear like snow of a ditch if they were up for sale, just beautiful, in fact the work of the costume department is outstanding in this ballet. And the music, especially written by Philip Feeney is very fresh, modern yet with strong Russian undertones with the use of dulcimer and balalaka, and the percussion musicians feature strongly.
David Nixon, choreographer, director and costume designer has achieved what he set out to achieve, a magical performance.