‘Cinderella’: having a ball
PRODUCTION AND CHOREOGRAPHY: Veronica Paeper
CAST: Members of Cape Town City Ballet and the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, with Guest Artists Maxime Quiroga and Janet Lindup
CONDUCTOR: Brandon Phillips
VENUE: Artscape Opera House, until October 21
“SOMETHING old, something new”, with more of the latter than the former, is a formula that restores glamour to the staging of this timeless classic in the ballet repertoire. The basic storyline remains unchanged, as do the characters of the fairy tale; what is a welcome change is the work’s return to the spacious stage of the Opera House after several years in the Artscape Theatre with reduced props and a cramped performance arena. Moreover, shabby costumes and tired, patched-up props have made way for glistening new garb designed by the masterly hand of Peter Cazalet, complemented by a fresh approach to staging with modern technology at the service of tradition. Multimedia artist Kirsti Cumming has collaborated handsomely with Cazalet in reinventing the sets, particularly those evoking the other-worldliness of the fairy kingdom in Act 1.
Paeper’s astute revision of Cinderella’s original choreography has resulted in a production which, while it retains elements of pantomime, is less outré in its comic effects.
Performance-wise, there is much to commend this production. Janet Lindup as Daffodil (the senior ugly sister) breaks with the panto tradition of cross-dressed females, and is stellar in the part, exploiting its comic potential with her infectious sense of fun. Quiroga dazzles as the Prince, all sophisticated elegance but at the same time capable of expressive tenderness in pas de deux with Laura Bosenberg as Cinderella. Their first partnership in the pre-ball fantasy of Act 1 is memorable, its calibre confirmed by later appearances together.
Caitlin Smith has an imposing physicality ideal for the role of the Fairy Godmother, to which part she brings the requisite energy.
Reliable accompaniment from the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, stunning visuals resulting from Cumming’s digital design and Faheem Bardien’s lighting, and the collective commitment of the cast, combine to make this an auspicious start to the 2018 summer season.
Janet Lindup as the Ugly Sister Daffodil with Tusile Tenza as Buttons and Laura Bosenberg as Cinderella. |