From beginning to end, the Royal Ballet's version of Cinderella is enchanting. It begins with a lively and bubbly opening number. The opening number quickly introduces you to the quirky and comical wicked stepsisters played by Alastair Marriot and Johnathan Howells. On more than one occasion, they steal the show with their comic antics and precise timing with the music. While the stepsisters are ungraceful in every way, Cinderella is graceful and charming. Alina Cojocaru fits the ingénue role perfectly. Though the wicked stepmother is nowhere to be seen, this slightly adapted Cinderella does fine with the strong performances from the wicked stepsisters.
The fairy scene in act I, scene 2 is captivating, due to the beautiful, fantasy-like costumes and scenery. Each time a new fairy, each representing one of the four seasons, enters the scene, your eye is attracted to their great dancing and gossamer costumes. Isabel Mc Meekan danced superbly as Cinderella's fairy godmother. She gracefully danced with her magic wand as if it were a part of her being. When she was onstage, it was easy to get transfixed by her delicate, effortless dancing.
Christine Salerno as The Spring Fairy in The Royal Ballet's Cinderella
Act II opened strong with the brilliant court jester, played by Jose Martin. His dancing was lively and impressive and he stood out from the other male dancers. The scenery and lighting was even more impressive than in Act I. The great scenery made the stage seem like it went on forever, making this ballet seem like more of a reality than a fantasy. In each of the group dance numbers, it was clear that the choreographer, Sir Frederick Ashton, had a keen eye for what looked best from the audience's perspective. Each dancer was placed in a position that made the group shine as a whole, and these dance sequences were quite visually appealing.
Alina Cojocaru as Cinderella in The Royal Ballet's Cinderella
When Cinderella meets the Prince in Act II, there is a spark between them that grows stronger as they dance in each other's arms. However, the Prince must have been having an off night because Cinderella was the dynamic dancer of the two. Act II ends with more brilliant staging and dancing. This dance company has several dancers worth watching.
Act II from The Royal Ballet's Cinderella
This ballet is a must see for ballet aficionados. The Royal Ballet has a talent for bringing a classic love story to life through ballet. The excellent staging, lighting, dancing, and orchestra all combine to make a show worth seeing. Bring the whole family. Kids and adults will all love this heartwarming show.
The Royal Ballet, one of the greatest and most celebrated dance companies in the world, performs at the Orange County Performing Arts Center July 5-10, performing two of its most acclaimed works: the US premiere for the new production of Sir Frederick Ashton's Cinderella (July 5-8 at 8 pm) and Peter Wright's Giselle (July 9 at 8 pm and July 10 at 2 and 8 pm). These performances in Segerstrom Hall will be The Royal Ballet's first stop on a two-city tour, traveling to New York's Metropolitan Opera House after its Costa Mesa engagement. The Royal Ballet is Great Britain's most prestigious ballet company, led by Director Monica Mason. Its principals include Leanne Benjamin, Darcey Bussell, Alina Cojocaru, and Tamara Rojo. Tickets for The Royal Ballet are $25, $40, $60, $85, $100 and are on sale now at The Center Box Office, online at The Center's Web site at www.ocpac.org, or by phone through Ticketmaster at (213) 365-3500.