Wee Cinderella

Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Mary Brennan

Four stars

Afterwards.the foyer is full of little girls waiting to have selfies taken with ballerinas in full costume. It’s the stuff of childhood memories, as is Wee Cinderella itself – a cannily cut-down version of Christopher Hampson’s luscious choreography for Scottish Ballet that offers young audiences (aged 3+) a quality glimpse of art forms they might want to engage with when older.

I say ‘art forms’ because this hour-long event doesn’t isolate the dance from the music-making that underpins it. When our friendly presenters, Miriam (Early) and Beth (Kingsley-Garner), initially introduce the main characters, each one takes a few steps to a signature ‘motif’ from the Prokofiev score, played live by the orchestra in the pit.

More connections are made during the mid-way break, when movements and music again connect in a lively joining-in action section about tempi, volume and instrumentation with principal percussionist Martin Willis leading us in the Tick Tock percussings that see Cinderella vanish from the ball. The youngsters – boys and girls alike – Tick’d and Tock’d with gusto, but hushed right down when the curtain then rose on the waltzing couples framing Cinderella (Claire Souet) and her Prince (Bruno Micchiardi).

Of necessity – this being ballet for the very young - that classic ballroom encounter is brief, but the earlier kitchen scenes have shown Souet’s Cinders to be a bright spirit, despite her mean-minded step-family – Roseanna Leney (Tall) and Nicola Conti (Short) nicely balance malice with comedy here – but help is at hand in the shape of Amy McEntee’s Fairy Godmother.

Poised, gracious... with a smile that is the kindly heart of magic, McEntee summons the colourful insects – gorgeously costumed by Tracy Grant Lord – who will help Cinders find love and happiness. On every level, this is an unstinting and beautifully delivered treat for tinies and, in what is Scottish Ballet’s 50th Anniversary Year, it invites them to be part of the company’s future.