Reviewed by Louise Styles
In theory, a theatre that was predominantly filled with children under 6 years old, was a recipe for disaster! Thankfully watching the English National Ballet performing ‘My First Ballet: Cinderella’ at Oxford’s New Theatre (28-29 April 2017) was so captivating, for the adults as well as the children, that as the first act played out there were moments of near silence as the audience got swept along with the story.
I love the New Theatre in Oxford; its traditional décor and location make going to the theatre a real treat and something that my 5-year-old commented on. With its central location, we were able to enjoy the show and then go for a ‘girls’ lunch in one of the many surrounding restaurants.
To make this story really engaging for little ones the performance is narrated by Cinderella herself, complete with a glorious Princess gown, and is told from her perspective of her journey from rags to riches.
We meet the ugly sisters – who in this case are far from ugly! They embody the attitude and lack of grace that you would expect from the pair along with humour which made the kids laugh – all the while dancing skillfully. The tradition story remains but after a visit from her shimmering fairy godmother Cinderella is taken to the land of seasons where she meets the four season fairies, each doing wonderful solos and culminating in the emergence of Cinderella in an amazing sparkling tutu. The gasps from little girls all around was just magical, my own daughter included.
Act 2 opens at the Prince’s ball where we meet dancers, the prince and his court jester. The sister’s dances with the prince are well choreographed and all the dancers timing is impeccable. The iconic glass slipper scenes resulted in lots of little voices whispering ‘its Cinderella’s!’ all around us. The story culminates in the marriage, and matching outfits, of the Prince and Cinderella.
It was a beautifully put together show that held the audience’s attention and showcased the talents of the ballet dancers on stage. I loved that I could share something so ‘grown up’ with my daughter that had been carefully designed with her age group in mind. I heard a lot of ‘I want to be ballet dancer’ when we were leaving and my daughter has not stopped spinning around and around and requesting her own dazzling tutu. The dancers were exquisite and very inspirational!
The English National Ballet are currently on a national tour with My First Ballet: Cinderella from 6 April to 30 July 2017, for more information visit www.ballet.org.uk.
For other shows at the New Theatre in Oxford visit www.atgtickets.com/oxford or call the box office on 0844 871 3020.
New Theatre Oxford, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2AG | 0844 871 3020