IT’s not often shows come close to perfection but this performance by the brilliant Birmingham Royal Ballet came close.
From the moment we see a stage-enacted film noir opening of a funeral with Cinderella and her father standing disconsolate and the future stepmother (Marion Tait) smothering the father like a praying mantis, you realise poor Cinderella is completely isolated and unloved, and has immediately gained our sympathy.
The show opens with the svelte Cinderella (Momoko Hirata) being put upon in the kitchen by her two horrible step sisters Skinny (Samara Downs) and Dumpy (Laura Purkiss).
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With no words but via beautiful dancing and gestures the first act (40 minutes) establishes there is going to be a party at the palace.
Through magic and with the help of a fairy Godmother (Yvette Knight), Cinders goes to the ball. The second act (40 minutes) sees an array of wonderful dances by the BRB troupe as well as lizards and frogs and features Spring (Miki Mitzutani), Summer (Jenna Roberts), Autumn (Yaoqian Shang) and Winter (Delia Mathews).
It’s a fabulous party.
The whole show is played out to Sergei Prokofiev’s magnificent but subtle score. David Bintley’s choreography is sublime.
Like most BRB productions, the set and costumes look good but never so pretentious that they detract from the action.
The final act (24 minutes) is a joyous celebration of Cinderella and the Prince’s union. We know the shoe fits Cinderella! By the end the chemistry between Hirata and the silver-garbed prince (Joseph Caley) is palpable.