03/29/04 — Review: 'Cinderella' enchants audience

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Review: 'Cinderella' enchants audience

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on March 29, 2004 1:56 PM

The story of "Cinderella" is supposed to be enchanting, and the Goldsboro Ballet made sure that it was.

The dancers performed the show Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at the Paramount Theatre, and it was beautiful to watch.

There were attractive costumes and backdrops, a wonderful performance by guest artist Ron Smith of the Greenville Civic Ballet and, of course, the girls.

The dancers showed expertise, showmanship and even comedy. They were rewarded for their efforts with frequent applause, cheers and a standing ovation that began before the curtain opened for the curtain call.

Cast in the lead of Cinderella was Sarah Davis, a senior at Charles B. Aycock High School. She presented her character as a shy and loving girl who continues to grieve over the death of her mother and who is mistreated by her two step-sisters and step-mother.

The choreography -- done by Artistic Director Peggy Wingate and Assistant Director Mary Franklin -- was flowing and gentle in tone, and Ms. Davis carried it off beautifully. Among the highlights was her first solo, danced after her bad and comical step-sisters had left the stage. It immediately conveyed Cinderella's personality and showed off Ms. Davis' talent.

The roles of the step-sisters were another highlight. Ginny Narron, a senior at Eastern Wayne, and Paige Stewart, a senior at Aycock, were genuinely funny in their portrayal of the spoiled, selfish girls. They had the audience laughing out loud and showed their dancing expertise by pretending to dance badly. One could see that their skills were sharp enough to allow them to do what must have been complicated steps.

Over the years, Mrs. Wingate has encouraged her dancers to not only improve their dance skills, but their acting skills as well, and this was quite apparent in how well Ms. Narron and Ms. Stewart played their roles.

There was one other high school senior in the cast. Mary Beth Hooks of Aycock did beautifully in the role of the Fairy Godmother who rewards Cinderella for her kindness. She danced with strength and conveyed a confidence as the figure who changes Cinderella's life. She also had an impressive, stooped-over walk when she first appeared as a beggar woman. The way she moved across the stage, her body and face hidden by a hooded robe, set a tone of mystery and raised one's curiosity.

Alex Wingate has often appeared in Goldsboro Ballet productions and has been fun to watch, but he did his best work yet in "Cinderella." Without speaking a word, and often while seated or standing at the side of the stage, he conveyed genuine emotion for his daughter.

In this story, the father loves his daughter but, for a while, allows his wife and her daughters to mistreat her. The pain he feels is evident. Toward the end of the production, when the prince arrives with a glass slipper he is trying to find the owner of, the father brings his daughter forward and is pleased to see that the shoe fits. At the wedding, he places their hands together, almost like a sign of defiance to anyone who would try to separate the couple.

The step-mother was played by Joanne Taylor, who also showed acting talent as the woman who rules the roost, adores her daughters, and doesn't want Cinderella to have the same opportunities they do.

Among other highlights were the dances of the season fairies -- played by Elizabeth Falls, Katie Nenichka, Abbi Davis and Sunnie Harris -- and their entourages, the dramatic Father Time scene, the arrival of the carriage with its four white horses, and the darling little pumpkin fairies danced by the Ballet's youngest girls.

There is so much that can be said about this production. All of the dancers deserve praise.

This was an excellent show that left one wanting to watch it again.