The description that I was given when I was drafted in to do this review was that the principle of Centre Stage School of Dance and Performing Arts had said that the show they were attempting to deliver was “ambitious”. With a cast of 300+ children, and an opportunity for every single one of them to have a moment to shine, ambitious is absolutely the right word.
As you have probably all gathered by now, The Glass Slipper is an adaption of the classic fairytale Cinderella. I’m sure you are all very aware of the storyline, but in the event that you are not, Ella is a beautiful, kind child, with a charmed life until tragedy strikes and she loses her mother. Her father, determined to find love again, introduces Ella to her new stepmother and sisters who immediately treat her like a second-class citizen. After her father passes away, Ella learns about the cruelty of those who are supposed to care for her and is reduced to a servant girl, gaining the nickname Cinderella in the process. Happily, the story has a much happier ending.
Introducing 300+ characters and ensemble to a story such as this is no mean feat and the Directors have delivered this very well. Each number was choreographed to enable the performers to shine, and shine they did. All individuals looked as though they were enjoying the performance immensely. Some of these dancers were, of course, at the very beginning of their dancing careers and delivered the cute factor, but this was alongside a huge number of very skilled and talented dancers.
A shout out must go to Clare Ambler, Charis Thompson and Mary Stuart for a) creating and maintaining that many costumes and b) making every single individual on that stage look fabulous at all times. The costumes were sparkly, adorable and added a huge amount to the production.
In the lead role of Cinderella, Mia Long was exquisite, a real triple threat with some fabulous acting, beautiful dancing and a lovely voice. She was paired well with Kieran Nisbet as the Prince, who was also a very impressive dancer.
Libby Rickford stood out as Ella’s mother; she had a lovely vocal talent and delivered a sadder theme with great maturity.
With a show like this, it is very difficult to point out stand out performances with so many on stage at one time; however, one person stole the show completely. Charlie Long in the role of Grand Duke was the type of performer who drew audience attention whenever he was on stage, not only just in his role, but also as a dancer. His moves were precise and his smile was perfect the entire show; he was a true joy to watch.
There were some very strong dance numbers in the show, but a huge stand out for me was a song and dance by the Prince and his Companions. That whole section had me completely captivated throughout. It was strong, exciting, fierce and completely brilliant.
Well done to everyone who was involved with this production and those who were on stage this afternoon. You were all fantastic and I don’t doubt that you will be completed exhausted by now. A small piece of feedback would possibly be to rethink the length of the next show you do, or possibly add more breaks. There were a lot of children in the audience who were very restless by the middle of the second act, which unfortunately greatly distracted from the children on stage. This was a real shame as I think there were some lovely moments that I may have missed due to the noise in the audience.
A huge congratulations Zoe Mather and her team. You have done a fabulous job in showing that a crazy initial dream can become a reality with hard work and dedication.