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Cinderella, er, "Cendrillon!" - Elf M. Sternberg
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Cinderella, er, "Cendrillon!"
Omaha, Raen and I went out to see Cendrillon, the retelling of the Cinderella story that's currently playing at the Pacific Northwest Ballet. It is straight-up Cinderella, only with some seriously kinky themes thrown in that make it great.

In the beginning, we see Cinderella's mother and father in a flashback, as she recalls their love for another. It's a very touching dance, sensual and beautiful, until of course the mother dies of a heart attack. Then we get Cinderella's current life. The two sisters, with bandaged heads to imply they're constantly under the knife or undergoing some treatment to make them more beautiful, parade around the house, teasing Cinderella. The mother praises them. Cinderella's father comes in and tries to intervene, but is stopped: If you always wondered what kept Cinderella's father from leaving the Wicked Stepmother and her two cruel daughters, the answer is: a smokin' body and the promise of great sex.

Meanwhile, we get a glimpse into the Prince's life. He's bored, and his four fine fellows are trying to keep him entertained. The Prince, it turns out, has a, um, thing for feet; in one uproarious scene the fellows throw themselves at his feet, not in a gesture of obesiance but trying to the Prince happy, and his response is to thank them but say that that's not exactly what he's looking for. He orders a ball to bring all the beautiful women to him.

The two girls, excited by the ball, hire "Superintendents of Pleasure," played to great gay camp by two fabulous dancers, who dress the girls in garish asymmetrical outfits. The dance sequence is a lot about the father trying to convince the stepmother to let Cinderella go, but is overwhelmed by his wife's power. There is just a hint that the mother even uses her daughters' sexuality to keep him in line, but it's equally clear that he rejects that line of thinking.

After they leave, Cinderella is visited by a Fairy– played by the same woman who played Cinderella's mother– who hosts a hilarious retelling of the story as drag comedy, with masculine mannequins cross-dressing as various characters in a story that recounts Cinderella's plot and ends with a happily-ever-after event. Cinderella tries on a variety of the outfits, but it is the dress her mother wore that is perfect. The scene ends with her dipping her feet in a bowl of gold, which adheres to her feet in glittery patterns.

The ball sequence is exquisite, with the Prince receiving a warning from the Fairy that his life is about to change. Cinderella comes in, and the prince is entranced. As she descends the stairs, he stands next to them and stares at her feet, then to the audience, then back to her feet. It's very clear where his interests lie! But as he spends the evening with Cinderella, his eyes eventually move higher and he learns that there's a whole woman there he can love and even respect.

The clock tolls and Cinderella is forced to run. He doesn't even get a shoe in this story; all he gets is a drawing of her foot, from memory. He goes on a voyage. There's a strongly racially tinged sequence where he seeks out the perfect foot from the African and Asian continents, but eventually he is led back to his own kingdom, and Cinderella's home. The girls force Cinderella into the back room, but the fairy is having none of that, and stuns them to let Cinderella meet the Prince. There is a reunion, and a happily-ever-after dance, as the Fairly and the Father dance on the far side of the stage.

The ending is intensely sad, as Cinderella's father is eventually left with nothing but the dress, and the promise that his daughter will be cared for properly.

So you have gay camp, robofetishism from the mannequin sequence, body horror from the seriously weird assymetrical costumes (the mother's resembles a purple wasp!), all manner of crossdressing, inappropriate family relationships, and more foot fetishism than a dozen drag shows. Equally amazing is how well the choreography makes it clear the father's love for his daughter is pure and paternal, the one aspect of the story that's not mixed up in any weird sex and power plays from beginning to end.

The set is gorgeous, with the very in-vogue use of high-powered still projectors on large, mobile white set pieces to reflect the surroundings. The pieces look like torn sheets of paper, and much of the story is told in stills and brief texts on the walls. (When the prince is raging about how he lost that beautiful girl from last night's ball, the sheets all bear oil paintings of women's feet.) The costumes are gorgeous (I totally want the father's long coat, vest, and high-collared shirt). The lead does the entire performance barefoot, which I'm told by people who know is incredibly hard.

And I'm totally changing my title at work to "Software Development Superintendent of Pleasure." Those two guys got the loudest cheers of anyone on that stage.

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kistha From: kistha Date: February 13th, 2017 09:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
So crushed that I'm not going to get to see this.
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