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Northern Ballet's Cinderella review: it was nothing less than magical

PUBLISHED: 16:03 27 November 2019 | UPDATED: 16:58 27 November 2019

Sean Bates as Prince Mikhail and Mlindi Kulashe as the Magician in Northern Ballet's Cinderella at the Norwich Theatre Royal. Picture: Emma Kauldhar

Sean Bates as Prince Mikhail and Mlindi Kulashe as the Magician in Northern Ballet's Cinderella at the Norwich Theatre Royal. Picture: Emma Kauldhar

Emma Kauldhar

Northern Ballet arrived in Norwich last night during their national Autumn 2019 tour to bring their stunning version of Cinderella to the Theatre Royal.

Antoinette Brooks-Daw as Cinderella in Northern Ballet's Cinderella at the Norwich Theatre Royal. Picture: Emma KauldharAntoinette Brooks-Daw as Cinderella in Northern Ballet's Cinderella at the Norwich Theatre Royal. Picture: Emma Kauldhar

This retelling of Cinderella, by artistic director David Nixon OBE and the Northern Ballet, sees the classic fairytale set in Imperial Russia with a beautifully original score that was specially written by Christopher Gable.

The company, consisting of talented dancers from all around the UK and across the globe, brought the story to life with great flair throughout the two hour performance and it was nothing less than magical.

It was lovely to see a complex and in some ways more realistic romance threaded throughout the story, instead of the simple prince finds girl and they live happily ever after. It was easy to get swept up in the emotion and romance between Cinderella and Prince Mikhail (Sean Bates) which was beautifully portrayed.

Antoinette Brooks-Daw as Cinderella and Sean Bates as Prince Mikhail in Northern Ballet's Cinderella at the Norwich Theatre Royal. Picture: Emma KauldharAntoinette Brooks-Daw as Cinderella and Sean Bates as Prince Mikhail in Northern Ballet's Cinderella at the Norwich Theatre Royal. Picture: Emma Kauldhar

The production follows the rags-to-riches story with a few twists, packed with heart-wrenching moments, humour, magic, sparkle and glittering performances. It was clear to see that the ballet has been rehearsed to perfection; the synchronisation of the dancers was spectacular to watch.

The choreography was impressive especially in scenes with lots happening at the same time, such as the bustling market where there was a man on stilts, a brown bear tumbling around the stage, a circus act. As well as this, the chorography first ice-skating scene had the audience giggling as they watched the Magician (Mlindi Kulashe) attempt to learn to ice-skate as he slid across the stage whilst the other dancers gracefully ice-skated.

The Magician, is first introduced when Cinderella (Antoinette Brooks-Daw) sneaks out of the house to go to the market and the circus is visiting the local town. There he is, wowing the residents of the town as they gather round him in excitement and impressing audience off the stage with his magic tricks. He goes on to play an important role throughout the story with his flamboyant fun-loving personality shining through his performance and a multitude of magic tricks up his sleeve.

Northern Ballet's Cinderella at the Norwich Theatre Royal. Picture: Emma KauldharNorthern Ballet's Cinderella at the Norwich Theatre Royal. Picture: Emma Kauldhar

The magical elements in the production brought a great deal of joy, laughs and excitement, especially in contrast to the darker side of the story which focuses on a young girl who craves love and affection. The emotions portrayed by the dancers helped bring the story to life and the dancers were a joy to watch.

The intricate details on the costumes were fabulous - the 'ugly step-sisters' were certainly not ugly or with their usual questionable dress-sense - from the fur coats, to shimmering ball gowns and beautifully tailored jackets for the men. The clothing flitted and floated beautifully as the dancers gracefully leapt and twirled across the stage.

The stage changes were quick, neat and seamless as the stage changed from the market place, to the kitchen, to the life-like ice-skating pond (it was easy to forget they were not on ice) with all the sparkles of a winter wonderland to the luxurious ballroom. The lighting during the scene changes and throughout was executed very well and the clock projection was a beautiful addition to the ballroom scene.

With a hugely talented dance company, spectacular dancing, stunning scenery, marvellous live music, the appearance of fluffy animals, glitter and more; this production of Cinderella is beyond magical.

- Northern Ballet's Cinderella is at the Norwich Theatre Royal till Saturday 30 November.

- Tickets are available from £10 on the Norwich Theatre Royal website

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