Imagine Victoria in the 1920s – the Empress Hotel, the clock at city hall and Michael Jackson’s Thriller ringing out through the air at the stroke of midnight.
Ballet Victoria’s Cinderella & the Fairy Tale Ball encompasses it all. While still the classic love story generations have enjoyed, it’s also a production that pays homage to the Capital City and contemporary comedy when the time is right.
“The story is still very much the Cinderella story, but based here,” said Ballet Victoria artistic director Paul Destrooper.
For this, his third year staging the show, Destrooper also tweaked some of the plot details. The prince character, for example, is now an actor looking for his leading lady.
“The stepsisters and mother want to be rich and famous,” he added. “Whenever we do a story, we put in these little flavours of what’s current. It’s contemporary, but at the same time it’s very traditional.”
Adding much of that flavour is the character of Z Snap, the dressmaker, an over-the-top role based on reality television fashion designers.
“It’s basically taking these characters and making caricatures of the present time,” Destrooper said. “It doesn’t look like a dusty old ballet.”
Geoff Malcolm, a latecomer to the art of ballet via musical theatre training as a youth, was a perfect fit for the role of Z Snap given his natural ability for portraying characters, Destrooper said.
“Because I grew up in theatre and it was always a part of my life, I do get to play some of these cooler characters,” Malcolm said. “I get to be a little more flamboyant.”
Malcolm, who also works periodically in non-speaking operatic roles, sees Cinderella as an ideal ballet for first-time audiences.
“This is a great way to bring people into that because there is such a defined story, so their appreciation for the art form can grow, but there is still a very clear story.”
It’s a show the kids will love and their parents will take something different away from, Destrooper added.
“If you love ballet and truly understand the art form, you are going to be delighted by the level of technique: the choreography, the challenges and the musicality that is exposed,” Destrooper said. “But in the end it is a fairy tale about fighting adversity and finding success.”
Cinderella & the Fairy Tale Ball runs Dec. 27 through 29 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 30 at 2 p.m. at the Royal Theatre. Tickets start at $25 and are available by phone at 250-386-6121 or online at www.rmts.bc.ca.