Cinderella in the 20s

I was lucky to get wonderful seats at a super discount, but Cinderella did not live up to my expectations. It was a bad fusion comedy, which was a shame because the dancers were excellent.

I am not ashamed to say that I am snob- I do not like intense fusion of styles, especially those that are aesthetically displeasing. The costumes in act one were of bad taste, but the worst was the stage set of act two, which was undoubtedly based on an Asian theme– incorporating Japanese prints on large slabs that looked like fish scales and Chinese paper lanterns. It was terrible because the costumes in act two were actually nice, with art deco-inspired flapper dresses. (The stepsisters’ dresses looked like the Empire State Building).

Speaking of costumes, there was absolutely no coherence. Cinderella’s garb was based on a more “organic” theme, and yet when she arrived at the ball in a huge pumpkin, she wore a white robe with a thick fur collar, propped up on plump cushions.

I did not like the choreography, which James Kudelka has been praised for. For starters, the style did not complement the music at all. The dance was clearly very difficult in terms of technicality, but not at all prominent or memorable.

I was also displeased at the high content of humor. The humor level was much higher than that of Matthew Bourne’s later pieces, and that means a lot. It was even tedious in a sense because it was not comic relief, but just comedy all the way through. Cinderella was a far more flippant character than I had wished.

The only elements of the ballet that drew my whole attention was the huge pumpkin carriage, and the pumpkin heads of the male dancers.


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