The Dutch National Ballet’s production of Cinderella at the Coliseum, is an absolute delight. Using the Prokofiev score to its glorious potential the company breathes new life into a classic fairy tale, displaying both dreamlike aspects of the fantastical and unique consideration of the individuals as characters. Influenced by many past interpretations of the fairytale, such as the Rossini opera and the darkly fantastical Brothers Grimm, Christopher Wheeldon’s version is full of beauty, verve and energy.
Through his choreography Wheeldon gives the characters far more scope and autonomy than usually allowed for; rather than meek, Cinderella herself is more wilful than ever before, almost determining her place by the fire out of deference to her late mother, rather than through the subjugation of her stepmother. The two stepsisters also are differentiated; the kinder, younger sister getting her very own happy ending, the older, meaner one enjoying adult fun and games after the ball. Cinderella’s father also features more heavily in this production, as a browbeaten husband.
In a nod to the necessity for making this production a little more even-handed and more palatable to a modern audience, we see the Prince disguised as a beggar, meeting Cinderella in her kitchen before they meet at the ball. During this interaction we see the budding romance of two equal partners, rather than two archetypes, falling in love and both dressed in common attire. In contrast to these considerations the set is stunningly otherworldly, bringing an almost Alice in Wonderland feel to the proceedings; Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother is replaced by a tree which is the headquarters of a host of woodland friends, and instead of mice we see four ‘fates’ assisting her throughout her hardships. It’s in the marrying of these rather grown up particulars with such beguiling visuals and choreography that the Dutch National Ballet perform a spectacle which is enjoyable for absolutely everybody, after all, only an adult would be able to identify with the cringe-worthy hangover that cripples Cinders’ stepmother the morning after the ball.
Marvellously, Wheeldon manages to incorporate these inventive details at the same time as keeping the action ticking along. This attention to detail, the gorgeously detailed set and costume, and sweeping action collide to produce a cinematic effect which makes you feel like you’re watching a film as much as a ballet. This production succeeds in combining two contrasting elements; romantic realism in the relationships nurtured between the characters, and fantastical surrealism in the set design, costume and plot. It’s a fun, energised and slightly irreverent performance for the whole family as well as ballet enthusiasts.
Review by Annemarie Hiscott
A brand new Cinderella ballet, choreographed by the internationally acclaimed Christopher Wheeldon, will be performed live at the London Coliseum in July 2015. Premiered by the Dutch National Ballet at Dutch National Opera & Ballet in December 2012 to a rapturous reception from both ballet fans and critics alike, this will be the first time the ballethas been performed on stage outside the Netherlands.
Influenced by the Brothers Grimm story of Cinderella, Wheeldon has created an enchanting ballet set to Prokofiev’s magnificient score with stunning sets and costumes by British designer Julian Crouch.
Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Christopher Wheeldon is one of the most sought after choreographers in the dance world today. His version of Cinderella shows a kign hearted heroine making the best of life without her beloved mother, while over at the Palace Prince Guillaume is chafing against the restrictions of royal protocol and princely duty. Elaborating on the traditional narrative with a fleshed out backstory for the lead characters, the ballet is choreographed with lyricism , elegance and wit to create a truly entertaining spectacle.
Cinderella at the London Coliseum
No under 5s admitted.
Show Opened: 8th July 2015
Booking Until: 11th July 2015
Matinees: Thursday and Saturday 2.00pm