Left – (l-r) Brooke Widdison-Jacobs and Jennifer Provins. Photo – Jon Green
The magical story of Cinderella was brought to life by the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra, the talented cast of the West Australian Ballet and with the backdrop of a creative set design and sparkling costuming.
This was the first full length piece choreographed by WA Ballet leading artist Jayne Smeulders and was a credible effort. It was a female-dominated performance, with the parts of Cinderella and the two sisters, as well as the fairy godmother, taking up most of the spotlight.
Some of the slapstick choreography, mostly that of the ugly stepsisters and stepmother, was humorous but seemed at odds with the traditional nature of a fairytale and the elegance of ballet, bordering on a bit silly at times.
The 1930s costumes and set design were an interesting feature, and a mirror that was also an entrance and served as a screen for flashbacks was cleverly used. The glass coach, which I had been waiting for, didn’t disappoint – it was just as I had imagined.
Andrea Parkyn shone as Cinderella, acting out her part with grace and just the right amount of pathos. Jennifer Provins and Brooke Widdison-Jacobs were similarly fantastic as the simpering sisters, pushing each other over and pulling each other up in turns as they grasped for the prince’s affection.
Also worth mentioning is Andre Santos, who played a relatively small role as one of the prince’s attendants but is always a standout performer. The height disparity between him and his partner, Jennifer Provins, was used to comic effect.
A number of artists were underutilised, such as the prince himself, whose solo dance was fairly uninspiring, and even Benjamin Marett as the father.
The dance of the fairy godmother’s wood nymphs gave some of the younger artists a chance to showcase their skills but I was in two minds about the three birds that looked like colourful roosters. The program explained that they were Faith, Hope and Charity but their presence onstage was slightly confusing as their relevance wasn’t obvious from the choreography.
The ballet dragged a little in parts and could have been made fuller with more movement in the form of group performances. There were a few noticeable slip-ups but this could be put this down to opening night nerves.
However, Cinderella was an enjoyable performance and there were plenty of magical moments. The choreography was well-matched with Prokofiev’s beautiful score, particularly the solo dances. The only downside to enjoying Smeulders’ choreography is that we miss out on seeing her on stage.
West Australian Ballet presents
with West Australian Symphony Orchestra
Choreography Jayne Smeulders
Venue: His Majesty's Theatre | 825 Hay Street, Perth WA
Dates: 6 – 21 May 2011
Bookings: (08) 9484 1133 | www.bocsticketing.com.au