Scottish Ballet's Cinderella @ Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

An enchanting and wholesome interpretation of the classic folk tale

Review by Alice Lannon | 13 Dec 2018

Enchanting, beautiful and always stylish – Christopher Hampson’s interpretation of Cinderella, performed by Scottish Ballet, delivers all the sparkling storybook magic one looks for in a Christmas ballet. Freshening up that timeless ‘fairytale’ feeling we all love, this is truly a classy, yet very contemporary production.

The costumes by Tracy Grant Lord are so visually compelling – again they are pretty, they are whimsical, yet they are always chic and never over the top. For example, the flower dresses of Act One in the enchanted forest are so wonderfully effective in their simplicity. The set design, also by Lord, is something really special. Starting off sweet and traditional, it unfolds into a world you almost feel like you can escape into. The lighting by George Thompson makes the fairytale atmosphere really come to life.

The choreography also works beautifully, contrasting graceful pas de deux with comedic moments that have the whole audience chuckling.

What makes this ballet stand out though, is the real depth to the characters: in the programme, Kelly Apter writes that "once they’ve become technically proficient with the steps, the dancers of Scottish Ballet set to work creating three dimension characters the audience can believe in". Watching tonight’s performance, one can really believe this statement. Indeed, it is a testament to the extraordinary talent of the dancers of the Scottish Ballet that we really feel Cinderella’s grief over her mother’s death; we really can sense the jealousy emanating from the ugly stepsisters in waves. Sophie Martin is delicate, naive and loveable in the principal role of Cinderella: an endearing and expressive performance from a technically talented dancer. Barnaby Rook Bishop as the Prince dances well alongside her, and there is a great deal of fluency in this pairing. A special mention must also be given to the wonderfully hilarious performances from Kaylee-Maree Tarantolo and Grace Horler as the Ugly Stepsisters.

Overall, this is a wholesome, heart-warming production that will transport you from rainy Scotland into a realm where there are grass hoppers as dance masters, spiders as dress makers – and where love always triumphs. Not to be missed.

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, until 30 Dec

Cinderella then tours to Glasgow, 4-12 Jan; Aberdeen 16-19 Jan; Inverness, 23-26 Jan; Newcastle, 30 Jan-2 Feb