Joffrey Ballet | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Joffrey Ballet

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Sir Frederick Ashton's Cinderella, first performed in 1948, is remarkable for its mildness and subtle shadings. Only the stepsisters even approach the raucous: played by men in drag (Ashton himself danced one of them), they're utterly ridiculous--ungainly giants who tower over Cinderella yet are clearly nowhere near as strong, confident, or proud. Clomping around adjusting their boobs and giving themselves airs, they're no genuine threat--they're too funny. And because there's no wicked stepmother here, the only thing oppressing Cinderella is the death of her mother. Overall the movement is light and quick, and the scenes pass quickly; Ashton never really dwells on anything. Still, Prokofiev's somewhat dissonant music and the loneliness and poverty of Cinderella's life as a servant combine to create an effect of dreary darkness. All that disappears by the end, however, when Ashton places the lovers in a magical otherworld, emphasizing not romantic love but its platonic underpinnings. The Joffrey is the first U.S. company to get the rights to this three-act ballet, which should be a crowd-pleaser for adults and kids alike. a Through 10/15: Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 2 and 7:30 PM, Sun 2 PM, Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress, 312-902-1500, 312-386-8899 for groups of ten or more, $25-$130. "Rush" tickets one hour before curtain are $20 for college and graduate students with ID.

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