Cinderella has always held a fascination in my heart. What girl doesn’t dream of the handsome prince picking her out of a crowd, falling madly in love with her and then giving her a “happy every after?”
When I was younger I would watch the version of Cinderella that had been filmed for TV. For awhile I think they played it every year. Most of my guy friends thought that Lesley Ann Warren was a beautiful princess in her own right and all the girls I knew felt the same about Stuart Damon, who played the prince. I had the piano sheet music and at least once a week I would plunk out each of the songs and sing them with all the gusto I could muster. Of course, I would pretend to be each of the characters as I sang. I’m sure you all did that as well, right?
“In my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be. On the wings of my fancy I can fly anywhere and the world will open it’s arms to me.
I’m a young Norwegian princess or a milkmaid. I’m the greatest Prima Dona in Milan. I’m an heiress who has always had her silk made by her own flock of silkworms in Japan…….
Just as long as I stay in my own little corner…all alone in my own little chair.”
Perfect song for me. It fits the dreamer–the shy girl who lived in her imagination where she could be anything she wanted to be.
So it was with great joy and anticipation I attended the revised version of Cinderella this past weekend.
Here are my thoughts:
The costume design was by William Ivey Long. I found that the palette of colors he chose was less than exciting. While I loved the fullness of the ball gowns, I was sad that they weren’t awe-inspiring. I wanted them to be luscious and rich, but instead I felt like they were just puffs of material. There was a great deal of attention given to the magic of making the dresses transform from rags to fancy (which was exciting) but in the process the rest of the costumes were just well…average.
Set Design and Technical
As we walked past the doors to find our aisle I caught a glimpse of the set.
“Oh, my goodness!” I blurted out! “The set!” Beautiful! Simple (there was not one blackout in the entire play.) The flat surfaces had leaves and vines attached to them so that it gave them a beautiful 3-d effect. The artistry of the painting gave the set the right amount of realism yet gave a nod to the fact that this is a fairy tale. The technical aspects of the show were brilliant. I loved the penlights that with the haze created a dreamlike atmosphere. My favorite moment? Well, along with everyone else in the room– the moment that Cinderella turned and her costume completely changed into a ball gown. If you haven’t watched that moment on You Tube–make sure you do. It’s stunning. Cinderella does that move twice and the Fairy Godmother has her own moment when she transforms from a beggar. I will be honest, the transformations were my favorite moments in the show. Doubly honest? Once they changed I was disappointed in the dresses. I loved that the fox and rabbit were hand puppets before Marie made them human. So cute! I also loved that the carriage spun in a circle surrounded by layers of fog to create the illusion that it was traveling.
Acting– Singing –Choreography
I LOVED Tatyana Lubov as Cinderella. She had the right amount of sweetness, gentleness, kindness and spunk! I loved her voice and the imagery she created as she sang. I felt her emotions and dreamed with her!! I also liked Leslie Jackson as Marie (the character us traditionalists know as the Fairy Godmother) She had a physicality that made her character really come alive. Sadly, the rest of the cast was just ok. There were no stand outs. The play seemed to gain a certain energy when the ensemble began to sing, “The Prince is giving a ball.” and from that point on I did enjoy moments of the chorus singing. Although, I had a difficult time understanding the lyrics of the songs I wasn’t familiar with. The choreography was also lackluster. I enjoyed the lifts and ballet aspects, but the rest of it made me feel that the dresses got in the way of the choreography. It simply didn’t create the beautiful, artistic picture of a fairy tale.
“You’d be surprised how many beautiful dresses have crazy women in them.”
“Madame isn’t always terrible. Sometimes she sleeps.”
I was ready to love this play, but the beginning took me out of the story right away. The prince fights a dragon and some creature ( looking somewhat like a praying mantis) that none of us could figure out what it was!
At the end of the first act, Cinderella loses her glass slipper after the ball, but promptly runs back to get it. My friends and I spent intermission thinking that the cast was in the back trying to come up with ways to fix Cinderella’s horrible mistake! But then, there is another trip to the castle — yes, complete with more help from the Fairy Godmother and another beautiful gown — but not to fall in love, rather to push a local political agenda (with the help of her friendly stepsister) and then sort of fall in love anyway.
My interest had waned by this point, but now there was a segment about electing a new prime minister and Cinderella stops and leaves her slipper purposely on the steps. Thus, taking the magic of the fairy tale and making it modern and full of girl power and political agendas.
I’m a little sad at the way everything has to change. What’s wrong with a little bit of romance and fairy tales?
Did you see this production? What do you think about the trend of revising fairy tales? I’d love to hear from you!