Edinburgh Fringe 2013
Through the music of Johann Strauss Jr we are introduced to Cinderella in the kitchen. She dances with joy when the invitation to the Ball is discovered but is distraught when her step mother and sisters deny her the opportunity to attend. After giving help to an old woman at the door this act of kindness leads to her being given the chance to go and she is off to the ball! There she dances and entrances her Prince. Having to leave so soon means that she leaves her slipper behind before the Jester comes to try it on every young girl in the Kingdom. Despite her sisters’ insistence that the shoe would fit them we are overjoyed when it fits the rightful wearer and we can see true love blossom.
Cinderella is a well worn story but the inclusion of the Flower Fairies allows us to despatch the transformation of Cinderella on the outside through dresses and carriages for the joy of dance from within. This is 45 minutes or so of wonderment that comes from a young American ballet company.
I am not able to comment precisely upon each technical point within the show but as an overall experience it is just great. With all young companies the level and experience of the cast shows through but despite these minor blimps – particularly pair work that doesn’t quite work in tandem – the sheer enjoyment etched on the faces of these young performers just carry you along. With alternating Principals I have no idea which set I saw but the strength in depth that was obvious onstage leads me to believe it would not matter – the performances had reached a standard and there they were sticking to it.
The set was very creative with pillars turned – simple yet effective and when it went to the Prince’s Palace I spent a little time wondering how they had managed it! Joanne Whitehill and Robert Royce are to be congratulated in bringing such an accomplished piece to the Fringe from America after 4 weeks intensive rehearsal. It’s mighty impressive.
This may have not been a professional piece and the age of the dancers does give you a fluidity of eagerness held back by their lack of experience but I found myself caught up in their joy. I was willing them to do well. I forgot the pen and the paper and for most of this just sat back and enjoyed. I wanted their work to hit their heights and even found myself whispering to myself in congratulations when a particular piece went well. I gave in to their charms.
On the way in it was noticeable just how many little girls were there and their parents clearly had chosen this piece for the reason that they had little ballerinas wanting to see some dance. There was an occasional little boy but it seemed like he was there for a lack of babysitters rather than to support his little sister. No matter what the gender any young dancer should see this who wants to go into ballet. Oliver Greene-Cramer as the Prince shows that it IS for boys too as he was just great. Moreover I was delighted to see a boy as Prince for often the dance shows I have watched for my own girls tend to be left with picking one of the girls to play the part as they are really short of boys. It is important when asking the public to pay you get the boy! Well done!
I think it is safe to say that I loved this wee show and would welcome a ticket to see them again – if they wanted to sponsor me to come out each Saturday night to see their shows in the US I would be there! It is clear they are unashamedly a performance school and 37 years of experience certainly was evident onstage in this.