Special effects were fairly low key - a clock scene cleverly done with human figures in black representing the time, the Prince’s globetrotting search for the glass-slipper-wearer playing out against a spectacular backdrop of a world map indicating his search far and wide, with Flamenco, Aztec and Cossack dancers appearing on cue; and fireworks descending from the roof in the wedding finale. Colour derived from the tasteful costumes, with the Ugly Sisters in angry purple and red, Cinders transforming from drab russet to Kate Middleton-like silver chiffon, and the Prince all in royal blue velvet.
But I thought the production chose rightly to thrill us above all with the pace and intricacy of the ice dancing. The New Theatre tank is quite compact, but the skaters took this in their stride with no sense of strain or signs of inhibition. The way they accelerated and stopped dead apparently at will brought forth gasps from the audience. High jumps, twirls, extravagant leaps abounded. The two court jesters carried off with aplomb an injury-defying high wire act with no safety net, and the King (Prince Charming’s father) was in improbably thrilling form. And Cinderella’s stepmother, here played by a male dancer, led the Ugly Sisters in insouciant comic burlesque sequences that brought the house down.
How sad, then, that at the end of the hour and a half plus interval the audience was unable to put a name to any of the skaters, nor can I do so, since there were no programmes to be had, not even a cast list. I’ve long complained about student shows having no programme, but for a professional company and venue to fall down in this respect is extraordinary.
That single cavil apart, this was a thrilling show, so don’t miss it - but bring a coat or extra jumper. All that ice - my neighbour’s teeth were chattering like castanets by the end!