Entrancing: Ballet Cymru in Cinderella

Lichfield Garrick (as part of Lichfield Festival)
July 6, 2018

Phil Preece

The delightful Ballet Cymru breezed into Lichfield on a hot Festival night and bowed out having securely made it their home, leaving their audience entranced by their Cinderella as if by a breath of exotically perfumed summer air. The company, with their corps of young, beautifully trained dancers gave a masterclass in taste, presentation and refinement.

I’m always a little nervous about new productions of classic stories given the rich heritage they always carry, but I needn’t have worried. In the sure hands of choreographer Darius James and designer Amy Doughty this archetypal rags to riches story is made brand new. With assured inventiveness they give this familiar tale a light-handed treatment that makes it all the more believable.

In a uniformly sure-footed cast, Beth Meadway was marvellously vulnerable as Cinders, the previously adored but now motherless child, bewildered at the bad behaviour of her stepmother and new family. Unused to the covertly cruel treatment and subtle marginalising here she understandably and most convincingly turns in on herself.

Ballet Cymru in Cinderallapictured: Maria Teresa Brunello (Stepsister), Eka Mastrangelo (Stepmother),  Jimmy Parratt (Brother)Photo Sian Trenberth
Ballet Cymru in Cinderalla
pictured: Maria Teresa Brunello (Stepsister),
Eka Mastrangelo (Stepmother), Jimmy Parratt (Brother)
Photo Sian Trenberth

The second half is if anything even better than the first. Here we meet Robbie Moorcroft and Miquel Fernandes, just the right double act. Both are credible likely lads, one of whom might be the Prince and the other his equerry but neither of whom would have looked out of place down the pub on a Friday night. So now we have a Cinders with a saviour in the shape of top husband material bringing her back into the mainstream.

In a uniformly great supporting cast, special mention must go to Xoli Richards as the dastardly stepmother, Aerona, plus Alex Hallas and Maria Teresa Brunello as Cinders’ thoroughly detestable stepbrother and sister.

Overall this Cinderella is a lovely combination of pared-back simplicity and style with great costumes, underpinned by Jack White’s atmospherically powerful score. It all makes for a very satisfying and psychologically convincing retelling of this age-old but very human tale. Fresh as a daisy and believable, I honestly loved the show , and look forward to seeing the company again – soon.

Ballet Cymru’s Cinderella will be touring again from October, click here for dates and venues; alongside a new ballet, Dylan Thomas – A Child’s Christmas, Poems and Tiger Eggs, based on the poet’s classic A Child’s Christmas In Wales.