For a romantic musical that will sweep you off your feet without forcing you to wallow in too much mushy sentiment theatregoers need look no further than An Officer and a Gentleman.
The classic 1982 film has been rebooted as a pacey jukebox musical that is simultaneously corny and gritty. Lifting audience members up with exuberant performances of more than twenty chart hits from the Eighties, the simple story follows the exploits of bad boy US naval officer trainee Zack Mayo and his “will they, won’t they” relationship with local factory girl Paula Pokrifki.
While the narrative is a little slow to really take off, this lightweight chick flick exploration of how ordinary people endeavour to escape deep-rooted inner demons and daily drudgery undoubtedly benefits from being paired with punchy period pop music. A score consisting of such a wide selection of half-decent tunes is surely guaranteed to have spectators of all ages tapping their feet in recognition and readily engaging with the characters’ experiences. It certainly worked for me and I am not familiar with the Oscar-winning movie at all!
Chick flick romcom Legally Blonde makes for a feel-good musical that is as sparkling as pink champagne.
The 2001 American film, based on the novel by Amanda Brown and starring Reese Witherspoon, sees protagonist Elle Woods prove that one can never be overdressed or overeducated.
Pretty, popular and passionate about pink, fashion marketing student Elle is devastated when her boyfriend Warner Huntington III breaks up with her, declaring that he needs a more serious sweetheart befitting of the future he has planned. Elle is determined to win him back, so she shuns sorority parties, starts swotting and successfully bags herself a place to study alongside Warner at the prestigious Harvard Law School. Accompanied by her cute chihuahua, Bruiser, Elle remains unabashedly herself in her new surroundings. Pink princess and legal eagle, she essentially ends up falling in love with her own untapped potential.
Today is International Dance Day, a day to celebrate the power and pleasure of dancing.
For as long as I can remember, dancing has been my escape, my entertainment and my education. I was fortunate to be taken to ballet classes as a toddler and was always the child that didn’t want to go home after the final curtsey. Ballet, tap, modern, jazz, contemporary… I lived for the next dancing opportunity while I was growing up and probably felt most alive when I was in class or on stage.
I still feel more at home in a dance studio than anywhere else. Whether I am taking class, practising by myself, or teaching, everything else is forgotten once I am at the barre or flying around the space. In fact, teaching helps me delight in dancing even more as it is all about sharing ideas, experiences and enjoyment with others in the hope that they will love to dance too!
“… we must always remember to dance a little every day.”
– Ohad Naharin, Artistic Director of Batsheva Dance Company.
Northern Ballet’s take on The Little Mermaid is so immersive and beautiful that coming up for air during the interval is quite an abrupt reality check.
The return to dry land takes some getting used to because this absorbing and atmospheric two-act ballet sees theatregoers dive into the depths of a mesmerising tale following curious young mermaid Marilla. She lives in a mystical underwater world yet yearns to swim to the surface and experience the human realm. Surging waves of emotion crash over Marilla (and us!) as she falls hopelessly in love with a human prince, subsequently sacrificing her voice and life in the ocean for legs and an opportunity to be where the people are…
Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s original 1837 fairy tale, rather than the Disney retelling, Northern Ballet’s The Little Mermaid is choreographed by the company’s artistic director, David Nixon. It premiered in September 2017 at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre and was one of a hat-trick of new productions created last year for Northern Ballet – the other two being Casanova and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. The Little Mermaid’s current visit to Milton Keynes Theatre is occurring at the tail-end of the world premiere tour (it swims off to Leicester next for its final run of performances) but will undoubtedly remain a firm favourite in the company’s repertoire, hopefully to be periodically revived.
Northern Ballet soloist Abigail Prudames is taking dance audiences on an amazing aquatic adventure with her interpretation of the title character in the company’s newest production, The Little Mermaid.
She surfaced from beneath the waves for long enough to chat to Georgina Butler about becoming a mermaid ballerina…
Dancer Abigail Prudames is getting so used to decorating her face with iridescent make-up, flaunting a headdress adorned with seashells and slipping on a shimmering fish tail that being a mermaid is her new normal.
The 25-year-old soloist was cherry-picked by Northern Ballet’s artistic director, David Nixon, last year to originate the principal role of Marilla the mermaid for his balletic rendering of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy-tale, The Little Mermaid. She started discovering and developing the mystical creature’s personality and mannerisms in earnest from May 2017. Just four months later, on 21st September 2017, the production had its world premiere in Southampton.
Abigail, who is from Harrogate in North Yorkshire, trained at the Royal Ballet School, White Lodge and Elmhurst School for Dance. She joined Northern Ballet in 2011 so has enjoyed dancing many characters but The Little Mermaid’s Marilla is the very first title role that has been created on her.
We squeezed in an interview between Abigail’s rehearsals for Northern Ballet’s concurrent touring production (a revival of Cathy Marston’s Jane Eyre), the company’s daily class and performances of The Little Mermaid in Edinburgh. Read on for her thoughts on the creative process, dancing as a mermaid and why this immersive new ballet is making such a splash with audience members of all ages!