A BALL from the first minute to the last, this classic tale of the hard-done-by offload of two ugly sisters will have you entranced, writes Paul Thomas.

The ballet of Cinderella, currently playing at Windsor’s Theatre Royal, is a dream from the Vienna Festival Ballet.

If you want to see vitality, classic dance, wonderful story, romance and humour, then this is the way to spend your evening.

Frankly, this superb ballet is a delight.

Mistreated and oppressed by her cruel stepmother and stepsisters, Clarinda and Thisbe, Cinderella’s life is full of hardship and suffering. One day the Prince and Dandini, his servant and friend, arrive at Cinders’ house with a special invitation to a ball. Of course, Cinders is made to stay at home and clean but she goes to a forest to visit her mother’s grave and her fairy godmother appears. With help from forest nymphs and fauns a spell is cast and Cinders is magically transformed for the ball.

You know the rest.

She arrives at the ball in a beautiful dress and sweeps the prince off his feet as he falls in love with her but has to leave before the strike of midnight and leaves one of her shoes behind as she trudges back to a life of servitude.

Later, the prince and Dandini arrive with her missing shoe and while the two ugly sisters try in vain to fit it on, it eventually finds its way to Cinders who it fits.

This is a classic mixture of ballet and pantomime.

The cast is undoubtedly fine, characterisation is exact, engaging.

Vanletina Leali, as Adelina the cat, is quirky, mischievous and carries off the fact that she has to wear an enormous feline head with aplomb, her cat-like tread and control in the opening kitchen scene draws you in to her relationship with Cinders and the house mice. Angela Centomini as Cinderella and her dance relationship with Thomas Bradshaw as Prince Ramiro is extremely fine. Bradshaw and Ashley Selfe as Dandini are very strong together in their sequences.

However, in the Pas de Deux with Bradshaw and Centomini we see the exact nature of ballet. These are fine lines, high in choreographic detail, carried out and executed with sublime attention to the budding relationship between the lovers.

For me though, the ugly sisters stole the show for their ingenuity and being able to get open loud laughs from an appreciative large audience, not an easy thing to do in ballet. Grace Hume as Thisbe and Eleonora Falovo as Clarinda are a riot. Whether it is trying to enchant the prince as he presents the ball invitations or as failing miserably to fit on Cinders’ missing shoe, the pair work excellently together as a comedy act. Any mime artist or stand-up would be proud to have received the reaction they were handed.

With music by Rossini and choreography by Sheila Styles, VFB director Gill Mallek’s gorgeous take on this ever-green love story with leave you enthralled. With cheers at its finish Cinderella will send you home having had the most enchanted evening.

Ditch the tellybox and take in something special at the ‘Royal’.

Cinderella, Theatre Royal Windsor, until Saturday, March 10. Box office: 01753 853888.