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Cinderella Reviews


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I went to Saturday's matinee specifically to see Romi Beppu in the title role. Perhaps understandably the audience was packed with children, and unfortunately I was stuck between two groups that both had kids in the 2-4 age range.... I spent most of the afternoon repeating to myself "It's not a big deal, pay attention, now. It's okay..."

It really is a beautifully designed production, though I was left a little cold by Cinderella's "fancy" costumes, her arrival at the ball in a hollow pumpkin was really pretty spectacular.

The two stepsisters (Kathleen Breen Combes and Tempe Ostergren) were the big crowd pleasers, but to my taste it wasn't much different than the broad comedy mugging of having them in drag: stiff walking all on pointe with butt sticking out, flexed feet, prattfalls. If it were up to me, I think I'd make them a little more subtle. I know this is supposed to be a comic ballet, but it sure doesn't sound like it in the music.

My other big impression of the night is that Kudelka really pays attention to the shoe (which is, after all, kind of a major part of the story). In the Garden/Transfomation scene Petal (i.e. the Summer variation, danced by Lia Cirio) brings Cinderella a pair of pointe shoes, since she's previously been barefoot and after the ball Cinderella dances a (justly, universally remarked upon) variation with "one shoe off and one shoe on."

I'm afraid I don't have much more than general impressions, due to some distraction. The men looked very good, though the attendants all doing their grand pirouettes at the end of the "chase around the world" got sadly and raggedly out of sync. Dalay Parrondo dancing Moss/Autumn was the standout among the women for me, after Romi Beppu.

If I go again I'll see what else I can add; would love to hear others' impressions.

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We went last night, and saw Lorna Feijoo as Cinderella, Carlos Molina as her prince. I'm not a big fan of story ballets, eyes glaze over at the possibility of having to see another Coppelia, but loved Kudelka's interpretation of Cinderella. I haven't had this much fun at a ballet since Boston did Danny Pelzig's Princes and the Pea. The audience response was enthusiastic, with much applause at the end and few people dashing out to beat the rush.

Didn't have to cope with lots of small children. Did have an unusally tall guy who moved one row from the seats right in front of us (where it was easy to look around him) to a seat in the second row where his head blocked the middle of the stage. Don't know why he and his partner moved into the empty seats in front of them but....

I agree about Cinderella's understated dresses, her ball gown was too understated. But I found something amazingly appealing about men in tails with pumpkin heads! For me the comedy of the stepsisters worked. We had Sacha Wakelin as the Stepsister, and Heather Myers as the Other Stepsister (with glasses) and Myers was especially entertaining. Don't know if she had a better intrepretation or it was just my taste - I'm also not usually entralled by very broad humor but hers worked.

I also agree with published reviews that the ballet is uneven, with some parts working better than others, but there was enough dancing to keep me happy. Enjoyed the pas de deux with Feijoo and Molina as well as her one-shoed dance in act III.

And did you notice the 1,101 prize winning pumpkin in the lobby where there is usually a car being raffled off?

We are going to see it again, don't know what casting next week, but really looking forward to i.

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dido and bbfan,

Many thanks for your reviews and descriptions of Kudelka's Cinderella. I now have a much better sense of the production, both the dancing and settings, than I did from reading the print reviews of the initial production in Toronto. (I'm also glad to hear any word of Tempe Ostergren; I liked her dancing at PNB very much.)

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I did want to clarify one thing: I didn't hate the Stepsisters at all, I guess I was thinking of the program, where Kudelka says he was really trying to get away from the burlesque/broad comedy of other productions and I didn't really see that at all.

bbfan: I've noticed that everyone (regardless of cast) likes Her Other Stepsister better, I think she's got the clearer character. It seems obvious to me that she's the younger one so there's an easy motivation to assign, even from the balcony--aha! she's the one who's always scrambling to keep up with the other sister, and she picks on Cinderella just because she can.

I loved the pumpkin men too (12 men with pumpkin heads represent the 12 hours of midnight) I don't know if it's just the clock music (which I love) but I was definitely a little freaked out, in a good way, when the Bachelors at the ball started appearing with pumpkin heads. Also, having Cinderella crouched on the chair in her underwear really worked for me. Sounds funny typing it but it was tremendously sad.

The bows were a hoot, after the Stepsisters shove through all the corps and there are individual bows before the curtain Her Other Stepsister crawls under the curtain trying to upstage the other one.

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I wonder if they will have a different schtick at each curtain. Saturday night, Stepsister No. 1 (Sacha Wakelin) lunged at Jonathan McPhee (the conductor) as he took the stage for his bow. He looked like he didn't expect it, and it was very funny!

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I saw four of the six shows this past weekend. My impressions were pretty much the same as everyone else's. Costumes and sets were beautiful, reminiscent of the 20's. Kudelka says he doesn't want to come out and say the ballet was set in the 20's, but he alludes to that fact. Each pair of stepsisters were different - Atkins and Hough, Wakelin and Myers, and Combes and Ostergren. Atkins evil stepsister was probably the most evil, while Combes reminded me somewhat of an evil Lucille Ball. She was hysterical. The "other" stepsisters were all equally funny. While I wasn't sure why the stepmother had to be an alcoholic, Jen Glaze was very effective in the part. She has really done some great character work at BB.

My complaints would be the overcrowdedness of the first and second acts. The ballroom scene was quite hectic and it was hard to see all that was happening. I sat in different parts of the theatre for each show, but still came away feeling the same. I, too, was a bit disappointed by Cinderella's dress, especially after she arrives in the pumpkin from the sky and steps out in her Hollywood glamour girl cover-up. I suppose Kudelka was trying to show huge contrasts between her and the rest of the ballroom group, who were obviously "sophisticated snobs."

Kudelka talked alot about the transformation of Cinderella and the prince. I guess I saw her transformation, but I really didn't think the role of the prince was developed enough. He appears at the ball, dances with Cinderella, and then goes on this fantastic journey all over the world with his officers to find the girl who fits the shoe. I don't understand what Kudelka meant by the prince being transformed. It didn't happen for me.

I will say I enjoyed the third act "around the world journey." We got to see some fine male dancing, and it was all very light-hearted and fun (except for the one-legged girl, which I didn't understand).

I would have to say that I am in awe of any girl who dances this ballet. Kudelka's choreography barely allows them to come off pointe. Stepsisters, garden creatures, ballroom dancers, and fairies (except for fall fairy) are en pointe much of the time. Their feet had to have been aching. In addition, the pas had some very intricate lifts in which Cinderella had to be fearless and the prince needed to be very strong. My son leaned over to me at one point during the pas and said, "Boy, I really need to be doing more push-ups."

As far as casting goes, I enjoyed each Cinderella/Prince pairing - Ponomarenko/Rykine; Beppu/Madrigal and Fejoo/Molina. Beppu and Madrigal were the most innocent of couples; Fejoo and Molina probably had the most electricity. Larissa Ponomarenko is probably the best actress out of all of them - so delicate and thoughtful in every movement. She is probably the ultimate ballerina for me.

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Oh, I wondered about that. I noticed both times Cinderella is putting on her shoe - Act I and Act III, there were people - garden fairies and officers - kneeling in front of her blocking the view of the audience - at least in the orchestra. I thought it was possible something extra was happening, given the care with which dancers put on toe shoes.....

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One of the reviews (can't remember which and too lazy to find it) specifically carps that in the last scene the Prince's bodyguards/friends block the view of Cinderella putting on the shoe and I was like, "Well, duh!" (I wish we had a a "Valley Girl" smiley). Too funny.

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