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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Contemporary tunes and a myriad of movement styles ensure Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace’s Tango Moderno is an entertaining and easy to follow dance show.

It takes two to Tango – unless you are Flavia Cacace missing regular partner Vincent Simone. The former Strictly Come Dancing professionals’ new production (co-choreographed with director and choreographer Karen Bruce) uses the power and passion of well-executed dance to make a series of observations on modern life. Unfortunately, the dazzling duo are struggling to grace the stage together so far on the tour due to Vincent suffering with a recurrent injury.

Still, the show must go on and the always fabulous Flavia was partnered by not one but two stand-in dancers on opening night at Milton Keynes Theatre: Pasquale La Rocca and Leonel Di Cocco.

 

 

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English National Ballet’s stunning new double bill embodies what I love most about dance: you can lose yourself in it and it makes you think.

The compelling Song of the Earth / La Sylphide programme is at Milton Keynes Theatre all week and ticketholders will not be disappointed. This is another unmissable offering from a company determined to ensure ballet evolves so it has relevance for audiences, today and in the future, while simultaneously paying tribute to its glorious history.

Juxtaposing Kenneth MacMillan’s breakthrough, avant-garde masterpiece, Song of the Earth, against the quintessential Romantic era ballet, La Sylphide, is an inspired expression of English National Ballet’s enduring mission. Seeing these two new additions to the company’s repertoire performed back-to-back affords us the opportunity to admire the scope of ballet as an art form and the versatility of the dancers.

 

 

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You can’t help but be charmed by clever Christopher, the protagonist of multi award-winning National Theatre production The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Christopher finds people difficult. He is irked by idioms, muddled by metaphors and baffled by body language. Ultimately, he is catastrophically confused by the chaos and uncertainty that unfamiliar people have the potential to bring to his painstakingly structured world. Consequently, fifteen-year-old Christopher avoids strangers and has never left his quiet cul-de-sac in Swindon unaccompanied.

How brave, then, for this mathematically gifted teenager with behavioural problems to adopt the role of detective in a bid to solve a curious incident involving the murder of his neighbour’s dog.

 

 

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