REVIEW: ‘An American In Paris’ – Dominion Theatre, London, December 2017

 

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!

 

An American In Paris at the Dominion Theatre, London. View Post

REVIEW: ‘Tango Moderno’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, November 2017

 

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 of Tango Moderno at Milton Keynes Theatre: Pasquale La Rocca and Leonel Di Cocco.

 

Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace in Tango Moderno.

 

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REVIEW: English National Ballet’s ‘Song of the Earth / La Sylphide’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, October 2017

 

English National Ballet’s stunning new double bill Song of the Earth / La Sylphide 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.

 

English National Ballet dancers Tamara Rojo, Jeffrey Cirio and Joseph Caley in Song of the Earth. Photo by Laurent Liotardo.

 

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REVIEW: ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, September 2017

 

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.

 

David Michaels as Ed and Scott Reid as Christopher Boone in the National Theatre production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

 

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REVIEW: ‘Grease’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, August 2017

 

Grease is the word on everyone’s lips at Milton Keynes Theatre this week and the fabulously fun show is the perfect pick-me-up production to see out the summer holidays in style.

This toe-tapping tale introduces us to members of the 1959 senior class at Rydell High School in California as they return after summer vacation. The teens each do their best to fit into their respective cliques but it becomes apparent that naive new girl Sandy Dumbrowski and too-cool-for-school bad boy Danny Zuko shared a secret summer romance. What is not so clear is how far their fling progressed. As peer pressure from the ‘T-Birds’ (a gang of cool dudes with greased hair and black leather jackets) and the ‘Pink Ladies’ (the poodle-skirt wearing popular girls, led by sharp-tongued Rizzo) mounts, will Sandy and Danny ever admit they have found the one that they want?

With Grease, audiences really do have a rather good idea of what to expect and fans are hopelessly devoted to the phenomenon it has become. After all, the 1978 film starring Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta is a cult classic and the unforgettable songs and characters have achieved iconic status. The current touring production opens with the orchestra rocking out above the stage, giving seasoned fans and newcomers alike the chance to show their appreciation for the tunes to come. Each instrumentalist has a solo spot and the anticipation builds…

 

Grease the musical. Danielle Hope as Sandy Dumbrowski and Tom Parker as Danny Zuko.

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