(and this time it’s not from a Fairy Godmother!)
“It is good versus evil; it is that if you’re a good person, things can come out right. But it is not saying if you’re meek or subservient you’ll be rewarded.”
This is world-renowned choreographer Christopher Wheeldon talking about his re-imagining of the classic fairy tale, Cinderella, which comes to the Royal Albert Hall for its UK premiere with English National Ballet this June. The An American in Paris: The Musical director wanted to create a Cinderella who was in charge of her destiny. So Wheeldon decided to do away with the Fairy Godmother and her pumpkin, and instead let the protagonist of his ballet use her own wit and generosity to get her to the ball.
But this production is not without its fair share of magic. Magnificent sets, extraordinary costumes and superb choreography come together to create a show full of breathtaking theatrical sorcery. Designer Julian Crouch and award-winning puppeteer Basil Twist (whose Broadway credits include “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory” and “The Addams Family”) use their theatrical wizardry to bring some real fairy tale magic to the stage. And this magic will truly come to life when the ballet is restaged in-the-round especially for the Royal Albert Hall, with over 90 dancers from English National Ballet and a sublime live score, performed by their Philharmonic orchestra.
At the heart of this production – which is based primarily on the Brother’s Grimm version of the story that has a focus on nature and the spirit of Cinderella’s mother – is a spectacular tree the grows as the story progresses. Created by the show’s puppeteer Basil Twist, the tree moves and even dances, becoming a principal character in itself. Twist explains that of everything he has created, this tree holds particular meaning for him. He explains, “This may be corny, but as a child I always used to go to San Francisco Ballet’s the Nutcracker,” he says. “And the tree growing onstage — it’s one of the reasons I work in the theatre. I so loved that moment.”
Anyone going to see the show can expect to meet even more surprising characters along the way. Dancing conkers, an assortment of woodland creatures and even giant potato heads will help transform the Royal Albert Hall’s stunning auditorium and immerse the audience in Christopher Wheeldon’s truly enchanting kingdom.
What’s more, the iconic Kensington venue is offering a range of hospitality packages that with make for a truly unforgettable night at the ballet. If you’re quick, there is still time to book their Luxury Afternoon Tea Package and have tickets delivered in a bespoke gift-wrapped box especially for Mother’s Day (**if ordered before 28 March). These very special tickets will get you the best views of the ballet from your own private box, with classic finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and a delicious assortment of musical-inspired cakes served straight to your seats before the show.
We don’t think Mother’s Day gifts can get any more perfect than that!