Adelaide Fringe 2012

Cinderella – The Untold Story

0 Comments 19 March 2012

Presented by SA Children’s Ballet Company Inc.
@ Adelaide College of the Arts – Main Theatre
SATURDAY 17 March (until March 18)

Presented by the South Australian Children’s Ballet Company, Cinderella – The Untold Story is a zany adaptation of the classic fairytale, with a modern twist. Inspired by Roald Dahl’s satirical story from his collection of Revolting Rhymes, this fractured fairytale follows Cinderella, a meek and dreamy girl who is bullied relentlessly by her two hideous stepsisters. When the Prince hosts a Royal Ball, all the ladies of the kingdom rush to attend, and with the help of seven clever rats and a Fairy Godmother, so too does Cinderella.

But will the Prince prove to be everything Cinderella hopes for? Will they live happily ever after?

The production incorporates both dance and theatre, featuring young dancers – between the ages of 10 and 19 – selected from various ballet schools throughout Adelaide. It is choreographed by internationally renowned Csaba Buday, and directed by Beverley Waters, who has worked on a number of performances for the SA Children’s Ballet Company, including The Red Shoes, Clara’s Arctic Dream and Aladdin and the Genie of Unlimited Wishes.

Cinderella – The Untold Story is creative and fun, with a combination of dancing, acting and witty narration. The audience consisted mainly of young children and their parents – the younger members particularly connecting to the upbeat music, colourful costumes and great energy of the performers. The addition of several fairytale favourites including Snow White, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Jack and Jill, Puss in Boots and Little Red Riding Hood, also added to the fun.

Both the plot and costumes were given a modern spin. The Prince was dressed in sunglasses and skate-shoes, the ugly stepsisters in fluoro tutus and ribbons, and Goldilocks was almost unrecognisable, looking like a 1930s showgirl. While this related to a modern audience, it seemed slightly kitsch, diminishing the fairytale charm.

The performance was vibrant and entertaining, but lacked the polish one might expect to see from the state’s Ballet Company, even its youth branch. Admittedly, many dancers were under 15 so this can be forgiven; but nevertheless, I expected the standard to be more sophisticated. For many of the roles, there was not a lot of dancing at all – the Prince and the ugly stepsisters seemed, for the most part, to just stomp around the stage.

Having said this, Puss in Boots was, technically, very good, and the pas de deux between Cinderella and her true love was delightful – possibly saving the show. It was utterly refreshing to finally see some quality classical dancing. Goldilocks’ Broadway-inspired dancing was also noteworthy, as were the ugly stepsisters, who were very amusing and dynamic, despite being given limited dancing roles.

At the end of the show, the children from the audience were welcomed on stage to meet the dancers. They were clearly delighted to approach their favourite character and have a photo taken with them.

Overall, Cinderella – The Untold Story was imaginative, visually appealing and full of energy. I was a little disappointed with the standard of dancing; however, judging by the reactions of children in the audience, they thoroughly enjoyed the performance.

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