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  • Writer's pictureFrances

Birmingham Royal: Cinderella | The Lowry | Manchester

The Lowry is the picture-perfect venue for ballet as Philip Ellis’ dreamy orchestra is seated in the pit in front of the stage, viewable from every level of the theatre. This production of Cinderella is a glistening classic reaching out to its full auditorium with a memorable story all audiences can follow. If you know your rond de jambe from your pique turn, you needn’t worry. This rehashing of Cinderella comes with exquisite costumes, superb choreography and all encased in a magical world created by David Bintley.

Birmingham Royals large cast bring a fusion of opulent, fanciful sets that briskly rotate in this fresh portrayal of the traditional fairy-tale.

Despite the lavish sets, Cinderella includes gritty elements. The show begins with a shot of young Cindy and her father at the grave of her mother before moving onto John MacFarlane’s unfolding kitchen design. The stark, sober scenery of Cindy’s world is used for much of the first half of the production and first soloist, Maureya Lebowitz’s hidden talents are revealed as she pirouettes with her broom.

After Lebowitz’s charming performance, elegantly portraying Cinderella, the unfolding set exposes her Fairy Godmother. The solo performances are captivating so it is wonderful to see the Fairy Godmother accompanied by four sparkling and unfamiliar fairies representing the seasons. Cinderella’s enchanted footmen moulded from a lizard, mouse and frog are terrifying creations but the show flows as a seamless spectacle to reveal Cindy’s grand silver carriage.

The piece’s second half contains Cinderella’s journey to Prince Charming’s (Mathias Dingman) ball. The forty-five-strong cast accompanied by a few younger dancers complete the spectacular ballroom sequences, including group performances that centre Cinderella illuminated by the spotlight.

Carol-Anne Millar and Gaycene Cummerfield entertain as Skinny and Dumpy, the ugly stepsisters. The women also seek to ease the highbrow culture of ballet with their clumsy, heavy-footed demeanour. Millar complete with fat suit and visibly rosy cheeks is particularly charming as one-half of the Uglies.

You may not be astounded by the stories ending but the emotive journey transpires through dreamlike sequences that are enriched by the orchestra and set design. From the custom costumes to the dazzling talented performers, David Bintley’s Cinderella will make this well-known tale worth rewatching.

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