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SCENE IT: Ballet meets pantomime with CTCB’s CINDERELLA

Barbara Loots

 

It is not often that you hear an audience giggle and squeal with mirthful delight right after a marvelous pirouette has been executed. But with Cape Town’s City Ballet’s latest offering, CINDERELLA, audiences are treated to a lighthearted exploration of ballet that relies heavily on pantomime type tropes to merge silly with skill. The result is a fun night out at the Artscape Theatre with ballet that’s truly accessible and enjoyable for theatre-lovers of all ages and entertainment preferences.

The well-known tale of CINDERELLA and the journey that brings her to true love is easily followed in this CTCB production. On opening night, the dashing Prince Charming was embodied by principal guest artist, Mathias Dingman, who joins the company for limited performances all the way from the Birmingham Royal Ballet. Just seeing Dingman grace the stage with charisma and wonderful technique is treat enough to encourage you to see this production. He beautifully supports Kristél Paterson who dances into the role of Cinderella.


Leanè Theunissen as the Fairy Godmother is an exquisite delight to behold. The magic of the romance practically drips off every on pointe step she takes. Beautifully supported by the four main fairies – Mia Coomber (Spring Fair), Hannah Ward (Summer Fairy), Mikayla Isaacs (Autum Fairy) and Paige McElligott (Winter Fairy) – the scenes where the Fairy Godmother takes to the stage are true highlights.


Special mention must also be made of the merry performance of Jordan Roelfze as the Jester who supports Prince Charming in the search for his true love.

The mirth in CINDERELLA is mainly driven by the ugly step sisters, Violet and Daffodil, played by Mervyn Williams and Marcel Meyer, whose antics have the audience squealing with delight, especially when they interact with Count Fossil (guest character artist, Craig Hedderwick) and Marquis De Conceit (David Maluleka).

The choreography by Veronica Paeper places technique at the centre of it all, with controlled, petite movements being the main focus of the corps de ballet in this performance. Here and there audiences can expect a burst of heightened energy through vaster dance exploration, but this is sparingly explored. This production of CINDERELLA leans into the 'bigger is not always better' approach when it comes to the presentation of a ballet. These choreography choices look to be influenced by the fact that performing to Sergei Prokofiev’s music is no small feat, and matching it takes skill and restraint. The production also sees original costume and set design by Peter Cazalet.


On certain nights CINDERELLA benefits from the added joy of live accompaniment by the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra under the musical direction of Brandon Phillips. The orchestra bolsters the magic of the music with jubilant execution and beautifully aids in the 'telling' of the well-loved tale of Cinderella and her Prince.


As an added treat, audiences can also look forward to limited performances showcasing principal guest artists, Vadim Muntagirov and Tatiana Melnick as Prince Charming and Cinderella respectively.


You have until 19 February 2023 to be captivated by the fairy tale romance of CINDERELLA at the Artscape Opera House, with tickets available online through Computicket.


Performances with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra & International Guest Artists: Saturday 11 February 2023 at 19h30 with Vadim Muntagirov and Tatiana Melnik Tuesday 14 February 2023 at 19H30 with Vadim Muntagirov and Tatiana Melnik Friday 17 February 2023 at 19h30 with Vadim Muntagirov and Tatiana Melnik Performances with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra only: Saturday 4 February 2023 at 15h00 with Hannah Ward and Quinton Jacobs Saturday 4 February 2023 at 19h30 with Kristel Paterson and Mathias Dingman Sunday 19 February 2023 at 14h00 Mia Coomber and Quinton Jacobs Sunday 19 February 2023 at 18h00 Chanté Daniels and Francisco Gomes

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