dpm is a Birmingham-based freelancer with experience of arts and lifestyle features.
Cinderella goes to the ball in style
Sir David Bintley's Cinderella was a Christmas present for the city to celebrate Birmingham Royal Ballet's 20th birthday and 11 years later it has lost none of its sparkle. Even in this reduced version, which has been adapted for a smaller stage and to be Covid-safe, the show is still one of the company's jewels in the crown.
Those who know the full ballet will miss a bit of the spectacle particularly around the transformation scene when Cinderella leaves her kitchen rags behind and becomes the belle of the ball but BRB and Birmingham Rep should be commended for being prepared to make these adaptations in order to bring the production to the stage. And it retains its heart in the romance between Cinderella and the Prince and its humour in the fabulous caricatures of the two sisters.
Karla Doorbar has the measure of Cinderella – touching our heart strings as she is bullied by her stepmother and her sisters and shining in the ball scenes. Lachlan Monaghan is simply charming as the Prince, no wonder all the girls are desperate for that shoe to fit so they can marry him! Together the couple have a tangible connection so that we believe their love for each other is a fairy tale come true and they tackle Bintley's ambitious pas de deux choreography with confidence and elegance.
Karla Doorbar and Lachlan Monaghan
Bintley is the master of ballet humour and his Cinderella is packed full of so many wonderful characters which make you smile. The sisters, Skinny and Dumpy, are inspired – without a doubt they are horrible to their stepsister but they are also kind of endearing in their own vanity and stupidity. Alexandra Burman is a spiteful Skinny, mean to everyone around her, and Laura Day is a fabulous Dumpy, the over-stuffed sister who prefers grabbing cakes to catching the eye of the Prince.
Eilis Small is an imperious Stepmother - determined to keep Cinderella under her heel and raise up one of her own daughters, she is thwarted by her own nastiness. Yvette Knight plays the Fairy Godmother who initially arrives in disguise and, when met with kindness by Cinderella, gives the ash girl the chance to shake off her rags and reveal the beauty beneath.
Going to the ball
The Royal Ballet Sinfonia play live in a room behind the stage but are visible on television screens either side of the stage. Conducted by Paul Murphy, they have complete mastery of Prokofiev's score, picking out the tiniest details but also giving it plenty of impact when necessary.
Cinderella is a good choice for the company to perform in a condensed version. Snipping out some of the sections does not tamper with the story and the show retains a good balance of light and shade with humour and drama. Cinderella plays Birmingham Rep until June 26.