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.

 

 

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Matthew Bourne’s radical Cinderella is a cinematic wartime romance that memorably captures the glitz in the Blitz to illuminate the power of true love.

The popular choreographer’s dance theatre troupe, New Adventures, is making its annual visit to Milton Keynes Theatre this week with a revival of the 2010 reworking of his original 1997 production. There were standing ovations on opening night, so audiences are still lapping up this fanciful tale of love and conflict.

Set in the capital during the darkest days of the Second World War, Bourne’s Cinderella sees ordinary Londoners navigating both affairs of the heart and the terror of nightly air raids.

 

 

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Magical dance theatre production The Snowman is a winsome winter warmer of a show that will banish those troublesome January blues.

The Birmingham Repertory Theatre performance proved to be the perfect mid-week pick-me-up for audience members of all ages on press night at Milton Keynes Theatre. Effortlessly combining a timeless tale with visual spectacle, The Snowman whisks transfixed theatregoers off to a place of nostalgia, innocence and satisfyingly snowy Christmases.

The wide-eyed wonder of a child enjoying the festive season is captured with grace and good-humour in this charming interpretation of Raymond Briggs’ beloved children’s picture book, published in 1978, and the subsequent 1982 animated film.

Waking up on Christmas Eve, a young boy is delighted to discover that it is snowing. He eagerly rushes outside, gets acquainted with the white stuff and sets to work building a snowman. That evening, the anticipation of Christmas Day’s imminent arrival means the boy is more reluctant to go to bed than ever before. Still restless in the middle of the night, he sneaks downstairs and creeps outside to check up on his snowman. To his astonishment, The Snowman comes alive and the pair share a special, starry-skied adventure.

 

 

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Panto can be predictable but there are some unexpected highlights in the gloriously excessive production of Cinderella currently running at Milton Keynes Theatre.

Pitched as “The Fairy Godmother of all Pantomimes” this extravaganza certainly conjures up enough seasonal silliness and sparkly spectacle to entertain theatregoers of all ages.

The rags to riches tale of downtrodden Cinders and her life-changing visit to Prince Charming’s Royal Ball is being brought to the stage with no expense spared this time around. The big budget is unmistakably evident in the amazing assortment of sets, props, costumes, special effects and cameo appearances on display amidst the conventional chaos of panto.

 

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Dazzling dance musical An American in Paris is a breathtakingly beautiful show.

The acclaimed stage adaptation of the classic 1951 Hollywood film, which starred Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, is directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon. Widely admired on both sides of the Atlantic, thanks to his work with The Royal Ballet and New York City Ballet, Wheeldon is a seasoned master who skilfully uses the power of dance to drive the whole musical.

An American In Paris features an impressive array of dance styles and really seems to be the epitome of the maxim “why walk when you can dance?”. Everything moves with a spring in its step – from the radiant lead performers to the stunning sets – and there is a remarkable fluidity as the cast dance their way through the sensuous tale of art, friendship and love.

This lavish production certainly made me fall in love with dance all over again, and I thought I was already as besotted as it is possible to be!

 

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