REVIEW: Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Cinderella, Sunderland Empire, until March 18

Birmingham Royal Ballet's Cinderella
Birmingham Royal Ballet's Cinderella

A retelling of a classic fairytale and a highly rewarding one at that.

There is no doubt David Bintley’s new adaptation of a story familiar to generations is a triumph. All of the hard work that has gone into taking this production on tour across the land - courtesy of a fleet of articulated lorries harnessing the equivalent power of 4000 horses, apparently - is absolutely worth the endeavour.

Momoko Hirata captures the very essence of Cinderella’s character in dance; the journey from her initial vulnerability and fragility to the more confident character emboldened and enchanted by her meetings with the Prince (Joseph Caley).

Marion Tait is a brooding presence as the Stepmother, whilst the choreographed clumsiness of ‘ugly sisters’ Skinny and Dumpy adds the right note of levity to the evening.

But perhaps the kindest words of the evening must be saved for designer John Macfarlane for his stunning and imaginative stage creations; Cinderella’s magical carriage is charmingly constructed while his giant clock that ticks fatefully towards Cinderella’s midnight hour is a mechanical masterpiece.

With the orchestra note perfect in their performance of Sergei Prokofiev’s original spiky score, traditional ballet, love, jealousy and even dancing mice and frogs, this production is hugely enjoyable.

In true Cinderella style, it was an evening you wished would never end.