Cinderella (4 stars)

Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Thu 4-Sat 13 Jan


Ashley Page could have taken the easy way out: choreographed a show that ticked all the boxes, and sent us home with another traditional narrative ballet under our belts. But Scottish Ballet’s artistic director has never favoured the obvious route to success, preferring to mess with our minds a little in his quest for originality.

So, instead of creating a fairytale by numbers, Page and designer Antony McDonald went back in time. Gathering morsels from practically every version of Cinderella ever written, and fashioning them into one, delicious whole. The result is a rich tapestry of narrative, danced to perfection by Scottish Ballet’s talented troupe.

The Fairy Godmother is now a product of nature, waving a twig instead of a wand, and inviting Cinderella into her bounteous garden. The coach is a giant pumpkin masquerading as a hot air balloon. While the nasty stepsisters’ attempt to squeeze their feet into the infamous shoe belongs in a slash horror movie. Cinderella is still a delicate beauty, however, rescued from her dysfunctional family and packed off with Prince Charming to live happily ever after. Because Page knows when to tweak a popular story and when to leave well alone.

This is the second year in a row that Scottish Ballet has wheeled out Cinderella, but it certainly bears repeat viewing. So much detail is packed into each scene - either choreographically or through the use of props/costumes - that it’s impossible to absorb it all in one sitting. Next year, we are promised a brand new Christmas show from our national ballet company, so the time to catch Cinders and her menacing stepsisters is now.

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