Christopher Wheeldon’s lavish and beautiful Cinderella in-the-round, directed by Julian Crouch, has been featured by the Royal Albert Hall in a 48-hour showing of their filmed 2019 production. With brilliant choreography, performances and Crouch’s spectacular set, gorgeous, colourful costumes and ingenious props – including numerous magnificent ballroom scenes and lovely swishing gowns – the piece is an uplifting visual feast enhanced by Sergei Prokofiev’s captivating score. The impact of the extraordinary dancing is equalled by these accompanying theatrical elements.
Inspired by the original Grimm’s’ Fairy Tales, Wheeldon’s inventive Cinderella is more gothic than the Disney version, with an Alice in Wonderland, imaginative creativity. Opening with scenes of the protagonist as a child and the death of her mother, the former mourns at her grave. The forest creatures and trees are alive, interacting with humans in the kingdom. Instead of a fairy godmother, there are four darkly clad male Fates. One of Cinderella’s stepsisters is swept off her feet by the Prince’s best friend Benjamin (Jeffrey Cirio), and the other seems to be “playing the field” with several men. Ugly they are not, just awkward, and Cinderella’s stepmother (Tamara Rojo) is apparently somewhat of a drunk. The three “villains” are comical rather than mean, bumbling about, prostrating themselves on the floor before the King, one trying to force the glass slipper to fit her with a hammer.
In a stunning moment, when spirited to the ball, the young heroine’s huge billowing cape becomes her coach. Paintings come to life, the moon becomes a clock and of the young women lined up to try on the fateful lost shoe, some have bizarre masks like pigs and horses’ heads, others are birds and plants that look like Venus flytraps.
A remarkable artist, Isaac Hernández is a charismatic, dashing Prince Guillaume whose several exquisite pas de deux with the highly talented, graceful Alina Cojocaru as Cinderella, exude natural joyfulness, tenderness and romantic sensuality. Rojo (stepmother), Emma Hawes and Katja Khaniukova (stepsisters) are outstanding dancers; Cirio as Benjamin and some of the male troupe are particularly incredible to watch – the entire cast is faultless.
Though initially, it may seem like a traditional ballet, the inspired originality and inventiveness of this magical work are groundbreaking. A top-notch diverse ensemble delivers a seamless, dazzling presentation. For children and adults, Cinderella in-the-round is a rewarding, entertaining, visually breathtaking tour de force.
Photo: Laurent Liotardo
Cinderella in-the-round is at from 8th July until 10th July 2020. For further information visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch the teaser for Cinderella in-the-round here: