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 Post subject: Scottish Ballet's "Cinderella"
PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2005 4:28 am 
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Ballet picks Cinderella for its Christmas show

by RHIANNON EDWARD
the Scotsman

SCOTTISH Ballet yesterday announced that Cinderella would be its Christmas production this year.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2005 7:17 am 
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A fairy tale renaissance for Scottish Ballet
by MARY BRENNAN for the Scotland herald

It is hard to resist the notion that, of all the seasonally popular fairy tales, Cinderella is the one that fits Scottish Ballet like a sparkly slipper. For even as the company comes to the end of a spectacularly successful year, with every prospect of a bright future, it's worth remembering that not so long ago Scottish Ballet was itself something of a Cinderella on the national and international dance scene.

published: December 12, 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2005 4:21 pm 
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Out of the cinders
by KELLY APTER for the Scotsman

"There are quite a few versions of Cinderella, but the story originated in China," explains Page. "So we went back and looked through all of them, then decided to set it in 18th-century France because we knew we could have a lot of fun." The treatment of the French upper classes to those down below certainly left a lot to be desired, but for Page it has proved great comic material.

published: December 10, 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 7:37 pm 
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Just back from the world premiere.... it's got some weak links, but is intriguing, unique and colorful. Very much a grown-up 'Cinderella' with more double-entendre and creative costuming than fairytale magic and glitter. As such it will be interesting to see how it goes down with the younger audiences - for I think attendance will depend on parents coming out with there kids, and it's probably not what many will expect. And I hope that Page will continue to tinker with it - a premiere should not be an end, but a beginning....


"Cinderella"
Scottish Ballet
December 13, 2005
Theatre Royal, Glasgow

When Ashley Page sinks his choreographic teeth into a classic fairy-tale, it's expected that one will see the unexpected. And in "Cinderella", his second holiday production for the Scottish Ballet, Page has whipped up a truly unique concoction for his ever-improving company. If not entirely cohesive narratively, the production is certainly a whimsical whirl of color and plays to the artistic talent of the cast.

Though the program would suggest it is set in 18th century France, Page's "Cinderella", as conceived by Antony McDonald, is more historical fiction than fact, defying any attempts to firmly place it in time or space. In the grand house of Scene 1, the shocking pink wallpaper and elegant chandeliers of stage right segue into a bare-walled ******* with fridge and grimy sink groaning under the weight of a skyscraper of disgustingly dirty dishes. Separating the refined from the repulsive is one sad strip of wallpaper just barely clinging to the wall. It's a room badly in need of TLC, perhaps from the likes of "How Not to Decorate" stars Colin and Justin, who happened to be at the theatre to shoot an episode from their show and watch the performance.

In this unlikely of fairytale locations, Page approaches the story with a mix of hyperbole and pathos. There's nothing more over the top than Cinderella's step sisters, who are one scary pair of fluorescently outfitted, grotesquely pampered, pastry snarfing siblings. (And played, unusually, by women!). As the domineeringly sexy stepmother, Eva Mutso once more showed off the presence that makes her Scottish Ballet's real prima ballerina. Tall and coolly haughty, she was superbly matched up with Jarkko Lehmus as Cinderella's overpowered and emotionally lost father. Mutso and Lehmus have featured in many of Page's works, and this is one of his best creations for the duo. Her height and presence creates power, while his solid muscularity makes his absolute emotional submission all the more pathetic.

The first act is all hustle and bustle, complete with a campily humorous duo for Interior Designer and Dancing Master danced with pizzazz by veterans Glauco Di Lieto and Paul Liburd. The amusing little interludes are fun, if short on substantial dancing and the 'dishpan' orchestra is a hoot. Yet, in all the fun we seem to lose track of the ballet's essence - Cinderella. It's a shame because Page could not have found a more perfect dancer to embody his leading lady than Claire Robertson. Elegant, but appealing fresh-faced, she's a true Scottish Cinderella - the belle of the ball, but every inch her own woman.

Cinderella's Act I solos, exquisitely danced by Robertson, reflect the mix of modern and classical styles that is becoming the core of Scottish Ballet. She begins her dance in bare feet, stretching out into the empty space, often bent legged in attitude. After the mysterious hooded lady who emerges from the fireplace gives her a pair of slippers in exchange for the gift of her dead mother's silken shoes, Cinderella's dance continues on pointe. This shift in choreographic style from earthy and jagged more smooth and refined perhaps reflects Cinderella's transition from humbled 'maid' to ball-beauty.

It is in the final scene of this act that the narrative begins to gently fray. Here, Soon Ja Lee's mossy, earth hued costumed fairy godmother (a costume decidely short on sequions and glitter, but appropriate to the production) conjures up the four seasons. Each season's solo is cleverly illustrated by projected images on the brick-wall backdrop, the snow covered branches of winter the most timely and evocative. Winter was also the finest performed of the solos, the delicate, precise steps beautifully danced by Ruth Vaquerizo Garcia. However, the giving of the gifts and Cinderella's transformation from rags to ballgown are somewhat underplayed, and a bit of the magic lost. But we are also introduced to the most clever part - Pages' cogs. In stiff, crenellated tutus, the black clad ballerinas represent the cogs of time, the ticking of the clock that controls the fate of Cinderella. With the cogs, we see Page at his choreographic best - edgy, punchy steps with a zest and breezy movement across the stage.

And Page most cleverly solves the age old problem of getting Cinderella to the ball without breaking the bank - no mice, no mess, no horses. Just a pumpkin that turns into a hot-air balloon. Why bump along the roads when you can soar in the sky?!

The grand ball, complete with exotic princesses, chevaliers and ambassadors is colorful, but a little underwhelming. The black and white backdrop, portraying gardens reminiscent of Versailles, is wonderfully effective, creating a realistic depth and atmosphere. Our introduction to Cristo Vivancos' Prince is uninformative and brief, and Cinderella's arrival at the ball lacks the oooh-factor. Her white tutu is pretty, but not bell of the ball stunning and the pinched-waist coats and dressed on the other dancers obscure their lines, a shame with a company that is dancing at such a high level.

The group dances are pleasant, covering a lot of space without feeling rushed despite a relatively small cast. As with previous productions, the women are stronger than the men, something that only time and training will help. However, the choreography seemed to stumble in the central pas de deux, which was lacking in chemistry and grandeur. For while Robertson was elegantly romantic, Vivancos, though spot on technically, failed to bring much emotion to the role. Opening nights can be stressful, and one hopes that increased experience will allow Vivancos to focus more on the character and less on the steps. Also, though Page's unique choreographic style is generally very effective, a grand pas deux needs a bit of flash, and this one had it's moments, but no crescendos. Swan dives, split lifts and the like might be classical clichés, but happily ever after needs a bit of glitz. That said, the floor skimming lifts were wonderfully evocative.

In act three, the story finds it's resolution with the Prince's search for the owner of the lost slipper. Pages injects a wonderfully does of humor with the outsized and odd feet that various women try to force into the shoe, but perhaps pushed the limits with the bloodying of the step-sisters. In the original fairy tale, the sisters mutilate their feet to try and fit in the the slipper, but that's a bit of reality that didn't need to be seen onstage. The ballet will surely attract a young audience, and the vivid portrayal may frighten them and was off-putting in an otherwise light hearted production.

Once Cinderella finds her Prince, the story normally ends. But Page chooses to close with the now ragged step sisters, stepmother and father stumbling across the stage. But as Cinderella and her Prince dance across in the background, the father is redeemed by the fairy godmother. This gift of forgiveness is a evocative final image, fitting for a ballet premiered in the season of giving and forgiving.


Last edited by ksneds on Wed Dec 14, 2005 4:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:02 am 
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Thanks a lot for your detailed review, Kate, and congratulations on what is probably the first to be published about the new production.

Ashley Page's choreography pleased few critics or audience members when he was at the Royal Opera House; indeed, he sometimes faced vitriolic comments. However, I was always a fan of the new directions he chose to explore and I shall be looking forward to this production when it comes to London this Spring and seeing how Page's ballet making has developed.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 7:07 am 
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Cinderella
by JUDITH MACKRELL for the Guardian

Page has been resolute in his determination not to imitate previous stagings, and from the languorous, spiky variations for the four seasons to the passionate flurries of the lovers' pas de deux, every phrase looks fresh-minted. Extremely well danced (especially by Claire Robertson and Cristo Vivancos as the lovers and Paul Liburd as the dancing master) this is certainly as much serious ballet as catwalk.

published: December 15, 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 3:45 am 
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Laura Thompson reviews opening night for the Telegraph:

Quote:
Cinders gets lost in a whirl of confusion
(Filed: 15/12/2005)

A three-act ballet is a complex creature, and in order to succeed it must have an absolute fixity of purpose. If its tone is assured and unified, it will carry its audience with it; if not, it can seem a bit of a ragbag. What should be a deep and broad work of art becomes a mere series of divertissements.

Scottish Ballet's new production of Cinderella, choreographed by artistic director Ashley Page, has diverting moments, but its whole hangs together about as tattily as the Fairy Godmother's faux-Vivienne Westwood costume.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2005 7:43 am 
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Cinderella
By Allen Robertson for The Times

Is there a traditionalist lurking inside the radically inclined choreographer Ashley Page? His new production of Cinderella, given its premiere by Scottish Ballet on Tuesday, may not have the decorous felicity of ballets from Petipa to Ashton, but there’s no doubt that Page’s take on Prokofiev’s score is grounded in the classical lexicon.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2005 6:12 am 
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Cinderella, Theatre Royal, Glasgow
by ZOE ANDERSON for the Independent

The stepfamily are vain and cruel rather than ugly. Eve Mutso's Stepmother stalks about in pink overdress, brandishing a whip, while the Sisters (Patricia Hines and Diana Loosmore) prod Cinderella, force her head into the sink, tip her mother's ashes over her.

published: December 16, 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2005 3:57 am 
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Cinderella
By Thom Dibden for The Stage

Ashley Page goes right to the heart of the Cinderella story in his new choreography on the Prokofiev score, created for Scottish Ballet. Even in a pre-curtain prologue, Cinderella’s mother is seen on her deathbed bequeathing her shoes to her daughter.

And when Patricia Hines and Diana Loosemore’s brilliantly conceived sister - ugly more in their dance than anything else - smear ashes on their new sister’s cheeks, they are her own mother’s, poured over her from the urn.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 6:44 am 
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Everyone’s having a ball in this designer-label Cinders
by MARY BRENNAN for the Scotland Herald

IF a company can act as its own New Year first foot then Scottish Ballet has given itself the best possible start to 2006 – a full-length Cinderella that is a feast of eye-catching delights for audiences of all ages.

published: January 2, 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 4:07 am 
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Cinderella, Theatre Royal, Glasgow
by MARY BRENNAN for the Scotland Herald
published: December 12, 2006

Last year, there was just a hint of "learning to walk in new shoes" as Scottish Ballet stepped out in the premiere of Ashley Page's Cinderella. Everyone was determined not to put a foot wrong in choreography that looked stunning – as long as you measured up to its challenges. Now? The dancers really own it, are inside the steps and are definitely more confident about acting.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 7:11 am 
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Cinderella
by ALICE BAIN for the Guardian
published: December 19, 2006

Despite a reworked storyline and bold, ironic intentions, Scottish Ballet's version of the famous rags to riches romance, choreographed by resident artistic director Ashley Page and designed by favourite collaborator Antony McDonald, remains a flat-pack interpretation right up to its comically gruesome end, when, crippled for life, sisters and stepmother (ably acted all) shuffle off against the light of love.
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