‘Cin­derella’: hav­ing a ball




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

RAT­ING: ★★★★✩

“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.

Pat Bromilow-Down­ing

Janet Lindup as the Ugly Sis­ter Daf­fodil with Tusile Tenza as But­tons and Laura Bosen­berg as Cin­derella. |

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