Australian Ballet: Cinderella review – big jumps, bigger smiles

Coliseum, London
Leanne Stojmenov’s tomboyish vigour transforms Cinders into a resilient and exuberant heroine in this deliciously designed production

Cinderella is a story about building a future from the ashes of the past. Neglected Cinderella, defined by her unhappy childhood, finds a new tomorrow. Prokofiev composed his ballet early in the second world war, and the score holds a load of grief and grotesque scrabble as well as fantasy. Listen to the melancholy overture, and you might not peg this for a romcom.

Alexei Ratmansky honours both fear and fun in his 2013 production for Australian Ballet (following an earlier version for the Mariinsky), set in Prokofiev’s own age of anxiety. Cinderella and her stepfamily are holed up in a dilapidated theatre. Her father makes a brief shamefaced appearance in search of vodka, and, unlike Frederick Ashton’s classic panto-inflected production, Ratmansky casts women as the stepsisters and includes their alarming, short-fuse mother (Amy Harris, glamorous but scissor-kicking across the stage in a tantrum). Her daughters – one lanky, one stumpy – aren’t monsters, just under-loved gawks always one ill-judged turn from collapse.

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Source: Guardian Dance News

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