Cinders! by The Scottish Ballet at His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen

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A review from 5D Music & Theatre writer Maria Robertson.

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Having seen a few Scottish Ballet performances over the years I know that you are always guaranteed an amazing night.  The dancers are sublime, the sets stunning, and the outfits have you wishing you could climb into the wardrobe and live there for a while.  This production of Cinders is no different.  It is a new take on the traditional story of Cinderella.  The version we saw was a male Cinders, but no audience knows if they will get a male or female Cinders until they arrive for the performance.  Cinders’ parents owned a drapery store, but unfortunately he/she becomes an orphan after a fire.  The new owner and her three children get invited to a ball and go without Cinders and of course we know the rest of the story, although there is no fairy godmother and no pumpkin in this version.  Depending on which gender of Cinders you are watching it will be a Prince or Princess they meet at the Royal Ball.

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For us Bruno Micchiardi danced the part of Cinders with Jessica Fyfe as Princess Louise.  Both are fantastic and awe inspiring, and I absolutely adored the royal frock!  So pretty and sparkly – all the things that my younger self doing her ballet lessons aspired to.  Talking of which, young Cinders was perfectly performed by Charles Waller, will be worth watching for him in the future.

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The choreography is by Christopher Hampson CBE, who came up with the gender switch concept on reading a fairy tale in a bookshop in Edinburgh with the same role reversing idea. This production includes some unique slapstick moves which is unusual in a ballet which tend to be graceful and perfect.  The sharp contrast does produce giggles through the audience though and certainly adds to the characters of the “wicked step sisters” type characters.  We enjoyed Aisling Brangan dancing as Morag and Claire Souet as Flossie.  It must be quite hard to place less graceful characters when all your training is aimed at you looking so beautiful and poised, but they both did it brilliantly.

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The Scottish Ballet Orchestra were also fantastic filling our ears with their story enhancing notes.  They were conducted by Daniel Parkinson as they played the wonderful music of Sergei Prokofiev.  Costume Designer Elin Steele also did an amazing job, and to a certain extent the costumes are even more important than usual for Cinders! as it includes the drapery.  Indeed it is not just the Princess who has an eye catching dres; every outfit of Mrs Thorne, the buyer of the shop, is designed to draw attention.  These are perfectly worn by Grace Paulley the imposing fashionista of the story.

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As with all Scottish Ballet productions everyone works together to weave a magical and fabulously executed story.  The dancers, the musicians and all the back stage and production personnel work to such a high standard and produce such memorable experiences.  Now, if only I could work out when to go back so I can see the opposite cast for a totally different angle…

Further information: https://scottishballet.co.uk/whats-on/cinders/

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Maria Robertson is the Chief Music & Theatre Writer for the 5D Pop Culture Website and provides reviews & coverage of local Aberdeen music & theatre gigs. She’s an experienced writer for numerous sources and is a self-confessed live gig addict ever since seeing The Counting Crows at the Barrowlands in 1994.

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