Cinderella ballet. Music by Sergei Prokofiev. The Birmingham Royal Ballet is directed and choreographed in 2010 by David Bintley in a new production. Stars Elisha Willis, Iain Mackay, Gaylene Cummerfield, Carol-Anne Millar, Marion Tait, Victoria Marr, Momoko Hirata, Lei Zhao, Angela Paul, Delia Mathews, Jamie Bond, Joseph Caley, Alexander Campbell, and Mathias Dingman. The Royal Ballet Sinfonia is conducted by Koen Kessels. Set and costume design by John F. Macfarlane; lighting by David A. Finn; video direction by Ross MacGibbon. Released 2011, disc has 5.1 Dolby Digital sound. Grade: B+
This disc proves once again that a ballet company with moderate resources can do wonderful work that can be turned into a fine HDVD to be sold all over the world. It's August 2013, and subject title now has competition from a Cinderella mounted recently by the Dutch National Ballet. But subject title remains the better choice for a mixed audience of adults and children or for an audience of just kids. It's a straight-forward recital of the familiar fairy tale with its simple but deep lessons---no updating, adult themes, or other overlay to make it "relevant." I'll demonstrate this with screenshots.
Why does Cinderella (Elisha Willis) look so frightened?
Faced with this, you would be too! In this production, Cinderella is apparently an orphan (no father in sight) and completely at the mercy of her stepmother (Marion Tait):
The step-sisters. Center is Skinny (Gaylene Cummerfield) and on the left is Dumpy (I call her Dumpling) played by Carol-Anne Millar in a clever fat suit. The sisters are screaming, "We're going to the party for the Prince and you are not!":
So Cindy throws her own party:
The only thing Cinderella has are her dead mother's dancing shoes:
An old hag (Victoria Marr) asks to come in from the cold:
Cinderella gives the wretch something to eat:
The old lady has frozen feet. Cinderella gives the lady her mother's dancing shoes, i.e., everything she has:
We know, of course, that the hag is really a Queen of Magic and Cinderella's Fairy Godmother. With proof from Cinderella of generosity and purity of heart, the Fairy Godmother goes into action:
Beautiful spirits and strange creatures prepare Cindy for the ball:
Meanwhile, the steps arrive at the party:
Skinny has never seen a herald. She does a (non-erotic) poll dance:
Dumpling knows what she wants:
The Prince (Iain Mackay):
The apotheosis, triumph, and disappearance of Cinderella:
Has anyone seen a better clock prop than this?
Now the Prince and his ministers are looking everywhere for the mystery girl who left only one shoe behind:
Dumpling hasn't a chance. Sorry:
Something causes the Prince to notice a female form in the shadows:
Everyone is astonished:
Cinderella would make an excellent trial lawyer. She brings out the other shoe and supports her case with an overwhelmingly incontrovertible preponderance of the evidence:
And a winning smile:
Now isn't this a beautiful job of telling this too-familiar story? It appears, probably due to legal requirements, that this disc has been released twice --- once by Kultur, and once by NVC Arts. The Kultur disc is available in North America, while the NVC Arts version is available in Europe. We believe these versions will have no substantive differences. We have the Kultur version, which says nothing about regions, and we think it plays anywhere. But if you buy, be sure to check out the current information about region restrictions.
For the North American Kultur release:
For the European NVC Arts release: