Northern Ballet production of Cinderella tours UK in 2014
Dates include Edinburgh, Manchester, Cardiff, Belfast, Sheffield, Hull, Norwich and Newcastle
Her step-sisters are mean, she loses her shoe at the ball, and bags herself a prince at the end. The rags to riches tale of Cinderella is known, and enjoyed, by everyone from pre-schoolers to pensioners. But even the most tried and tested narrative can do with a shake-up now and again – which is exactly what Northern Ballet has done with its latest production.
The Fairy Godmother is no more, replaced by a mystical conjuror (performing real magic tricks), Cinderella’s down-trodden father dies in a tragic accident early on rather than observing his new wife’s cruel behaviour, and Cinders arrives at the ball on a snow sledge pulled by huskies instead of a fancy pumpkin. ‘The traditional version is amazing but so many other companies do it: why not have a twist?’ says Northern Ballet principal, Martha Leebolt. ‘Our story is a little bit different. We’ve set it in Russia, the magic is really impressive and we have some circus tricks. It all builds on what was there in the past.’
During her 13 years with Northern Ballet, Leebolt has played some strong female roles, most recently Daisy from The Great Gatsby and Cleopatra. Now, for the first time, she is taking on the most famous fairytale character of them all. ‘It’s incredible to play these iconic women,’ she says. ‘And the fact that other people have danced them before over the years only gives you more information to develop your own character.’
Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Thu 20–Sat 22 Mar