It’s a clever trick to be both beautiful and funny, but Tacoma City Ballet managed it last weekend in its production of “Cinderella.” The show in the Pantages Theater was a reprisal of the 2006 ballet, but with a combination of new and vintages sets and costumes that sparkled and shone with all the fairy-tale glamour you could want. Add in some funny character acting, and firm musical support from the orchestra, and you have a ballet that Tacoma can be proud of, despite some not-so-exciting choreography.
The funny part came from an excellent ensemble of Kate Monthy as the fiercely Gothic Stepmother with towering black hair, Sal Lucente and Travis Goldman as the bumblingly ridiculous Ugly Sisters gatecrashing every beautiful moment, and the trio of Joel Myers as a charming Prince, and Kyle Johnson (also a delightfully fussy dancing master) and Davione Gordon hamming up a royally distasteful bewilderment at the Sisters’ antics.
The beautiful part, meanwhile, came from oodles of sparkly costumes (wafty dragonfly wings, a shimmer royal blue tutu for Cinderella) and the century-old vintage backdrops, not to mention a pumpkin coach that glittered with every turn.
Frustratingly, the actual dancing only partly contributed to the glamour. Some dancers shone: as Cinderella, Nora Kelley combined heartfelt acting (timidity, amazement, true love) with lovely poise and extension in her solos and pas de deux, while Carolynne Guinup offered perfect pirouettes and flitty energy as the Spring Fairy, Cassie Ivey embodied a graceful Fairy Godmother and Vorece Miller gave a snappy sassiness to the Gypsy at the ball.
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The rest of the cast danced adequately, but the choreography by director Erin Ceragioli stayed at a rather simplistic level, despite the complexity of the Prokofiev score (here played mostly excellently by a new orchestra led securely by Bernard Kwiram.)
Yet, in the end, this “Cinderella” had so many lovely moments — a totally adorable set of tiny dwarves, picture-perfect tableaux, rich golden-pink lighting for the ball — and such a good balance between comedy and eye-candy that it made for a thoroughly enjoyable fairytale.