Review: Cinderella, Lyceum Theatre

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Northern Ballet are on spectacularly good form with this very clever and inventive re-imagining of the classic fairy tale.

Acrobatics, magic and ingenious costume changes all enhance the beautiful dancing as the story is moved to Imperial Russia.

Young Cinderella, danced wonderfully by Antoinette Brooks-Daw, is centre of attention at a birthday picnic. She has an innocent romantic interlude with the young Prince Mikhail (Matthew Koon).

Spiteful stepsisters (Louisa Rocco and Ayami Miyata) accidentally throw her shawl, a gift from her father, into a lake as they tease her.

Her father consoles her by going to retrieve it – and is killed by a stray bullet from hunters nearby.

Her stepmother, a countess, blames the girl and banishes her to the kitchen. Jessica Morgan is chillingly cruel in the role.

Times passes and the older Cinderella (the always excellent Martha Leebolt)is kind and hard working. Her only fun is in visiting the market to see the street entertainers (acrobats trained by Sheffield’s Greentop Circus), where she befriends a magician.

Hironao Takahashi does a great job with a series of illusions and it is his magical powers that allow Cinders to go to the ball after her stepmother rips up the invitation.

Her wonderfully blingy sleigh, magicked up from the kitchen furniture, is pulled by huskies that are created from fur coats in the cleverest illusion of the lot.

Those costumes taxed even the ingenuity of Julie Anderson’s team.

Of course, Cinders is the bell of the ball and the Prince (Tobias Batley) falls for the mystery beauty who runs out at midnight.

When he finally comes to the house with her lost glass slipper and it fits Cinderella, he refuses to believe she could be a servant girl, in a nice twist. I think she would have been better off with the magician!

But of course love conquers all and the couple are reunited.

David Nixon has created a real treat set to Philip Feeney’s lovely score.

A skating scene was one of the best examples of his clever choreography and storytelling.