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Thursday, 16 March 2017

REVIEW: BRB Cinderella at Sunderland Empire



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Cinders is a Real Crowd Pleaser

Birmingham Royal Ballet

Cinderella

Sunderland Empire

Until Saturday 18th March 2017

Momoko Hirata as Cinderella and
Joseph Caley as the Prince
Photos: Bill Cooper
Momoko Hirata as Cinderella and Joseph
Caley as the Prince with Artists of
Birmingham Royal Ballet
Photos: Bill Cooper
With an original score by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev, and choreography by Company Director David Bintley, Cinderella is a ballet in 3 acts that follows the traditional story.  This is a show in which the logistics are on a massive scale. Pre-publicity describes how the equipment is transported by 10 articulated lorries packed with scenery flats, props, lighting rigs, rails of costumes and flight cases of wigs. A team of over 50 backstage staff and nearly 40 dancers work at each venue to ensure the show is magical wherever it is performed.

Max Maslen as the Frog Coachman
Photos: Bill Cooper
We are big fans of live music and hence it is fabulous to see the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, under conductor Paul Murphy, present to bring Prokofiev’s fabulous score to life.

The show opens, perhaps unusually, with the funeral of Cinderella’s mother. This scene helps set up the tale very quickly as her Stepmother (Marion Tait) sweeps in to push her away from her father.

Momoko Hirata as Cinderella
Photos: Bill Cooper
The show quickly moves to the kitchen of Cinderella’s home. Hassling Cinderella (Momoko Hirata), who has now being relegated to a maid, are her step sisters. Rather than have 2 men dressing up as ugly sisters (a la Panto) we have 2 ladies who are more ugly at heart. Creating a number of funny moments we have the spiteful Skinny (Samara Downs) and the cake loving Dumpy (Laura Purkis).

Samara Downs as Skinny, Laura Purkiss
as Dumpy and Marion Tait as the Stepmother
Photos: Bill Cooper
Cinder’s Stepmother arrives with an invite to the Prince’s ball and hence they go into Prom Queen overdrive. Fortunately The Fairy Godmother (Yvette Knight) keeps an eye on the situation and helps it isn’t just her Step-sisters who go to see the Prince (Joseph Caley).

Artists of Birmingham Royal Ballet
Photos: Bill Cooper
The designs by John F Macfarlane are really special. A lot of thought has gone into the palette used. Cinderella’s kitchen is very grey, like marble and her dress. The second act, at the Palace takes place on a starry night and wonderful purples and burgundy adorn the set and the outfits of the guests. The final scene leads to a glorious sunrise, and again the colour scheme changes. The set also has a number of nice touches ranging from the kitchen fittings to the glamorous coach and the magnificent workings of the clock.

Momoko Hirata as Cinderella and Joseph
Caley as the Prince with Artists of
Birmingham Royal Ballet as Stars
Photos: Bill Cooper
The show is a great introduction to ballet. The story is approachable and familiar to the younger members of the audience. If it is there first time, it may seem strange to have a story with no words but the choreography from David Bintley ensures the tale is well told. The fact that the show is broken into three acts no longer than 40 minutes will also make life easier for the young ones. They will be in for a treat with the dancing from both the principal cast and the other artists of the Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Momoko Hirata as Cinderella
Photos: Bill Cooper
We should also note the renovation work (NETG News LINK) that has taken place to the bar area of the Dress Circle at the Sunderland Empire. This is the first time that we’ve visited the venue since it’s recent £500 000 investment. The original floor can now be seen and the ceiling and chandeliers combine to make the bar area stunning. The back of the Dress Circle Bar is now seating for the new Bistro, who already looks like a popular addition.  ATG get a pat on the back from us for the work that they’ve carried out.

Back to Cinderella…

Laura Purkiss as Dumpy
Photos: Bill Cooper
Cinderella is the ultimate rag to riches story. In this presentation we enjoyed the wonderful score, the terrific dancing and choreography plus the show itself looked remarkable too. This is a great introduction to ballet and dance theatre.

Photos: Bill Cooper
Tickets:
Tickets available in person at the Box Office on High Street West, from the Ticket Centre on 0844 871 3022* or online at www.ATGtickets.com/Sunderland*
*Calls cost up to 7p per minute plus your standard network charge. Booking fees may apply to telephone and online bookings



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