Review - Queensland Ballet's Cinderella: joyous, sentimental, and colourful
Yanela Piñera as Cinderella dreams of her prince.
Camilo Ramos as an Ugly Sister tries desperately to fit into the shoe with Joel Woellner as the Prince, Paticio Reve as the Dancer Master and Liam Geck as the Jester. Below Lisa Edwards as The Fairy Godmother and Lisa Kim as the Spring fairy
Music by Serge Prokofiev
Choreographed by Ben Stevenson
Brisbane Festival Philharmonic
Conductor Nigel Gaynor
Queensland performing Arts Centre
Season: September 7-15. Bookings: www.qpac.com.au or 136 246/ The three acts run for 1 hour 45 minutes, plus two 20 minute intervals.
What a joyous, sentimental, and colourful production this was.
I saw the original production back in 2013 and, on the second viewing it seemed so much more fun and human. Backed by Prokofiev’s heavily romantic score it was a delightful tale delightfully told with stunning costumes from Tracy Grant Lord and fabulous sets by Thomas Boyd.
And seeing it on a Sunday matinee, with a Lyric Theatre packed to the gills with families and lots of beautifully dressed children, was an extra pleasant experience. There was so much dress up it came close to an opening night extravaganza.
And the youngsters’ laughter at the two pantomime dame Ugly Sisters (played traditionally in the UK by men) softened my view of what I saw as not quite fitting a ballet last time.
Camilo Ramos and Vito Bernasconi were more grotesque than clownish this time and their comic dancing was strong and cleverly executed. They were really nasty to Cinderella and her father as well;
They were a bit more menacing. They had the young ones in stitches though, when they tried to fit into Cinderella’s slipper and earlier as they vied for the attention of the Prince.
Back in 1970 this was Ben Stevenson’s first full length ballet and, as before, I thought the choreography outstanding and was in step with the music all the way, with some innovative and at times difficult, moves. But the Queensland Ballet company was more than equal to the task.
Yanela Piñera danced Cinderella and Joel Woellner was the Prince and they performed a pair of beautifully executed pas de deux.
The corps dancers were in impeccable time during the ensemble work, particularly at the Palace Ball, where they had some intricate steps. The whole act was a heap of fun, helped along by Liam Geck’s athletic Court jester.
In Act One we saw the emergence of the Fairy Godmother from her dark cloak and, with the help of the seasonal fairies transform Cinderella cleverly from her house dress into a tutu clad princess.
The fairies were delightfully danced by Lina Kim, who reprised her role as the Spring Fairy from the 2013 production, but this time as a soloist. Mia Heathcote was Summer, Neneka Yoshida, Autumn and Georgia Swan was Winter.
Interestingly in 2013 I said: “I don’t think I have seen Lina Kim do a solo spot before, but she grabbed her chance with this one and showed how good she is now.” She has certainly fulfilled her promise.
Lisa Edwards, in her final season with the company, danced the Fairy Godmother and was terrific. She has beautiful lines and balance and interprets character so well. She will be sadly missed when she hangs up her shoes.
The finale was brilliantly lit by David Walters, recreated by Cameron Goeig and the stage seemed to morph into a child’s pop-up picture book as of Cinderella and the Prince married in true storybook fashion and everyone lived happily ever after - even the bad guys who were forgiven by Cinders.
If ever there was a perfect family ballet, this is it.
Cinderella and her Prince.