There is barely time to draw breath when watching Aladdin at Milton Keynes Theatre. This year’s pantomime leaves you gasping for air between the laughs and gasping in awe at the spectacular flying carpet.
Spare a thought, then, for motormouth comedian Joe Pasquale, whose role as Wishee Washee must leave him puffed out and parched by the interval. Talking a mile a minute, he bounds about the stage with a twinkle in his eye while getting up to mischief with props, his cast mates and audience members. His energetic sense of fun is truly infectious, and he has the entire auditorium creased up.
As a co-director and contributing writer, Joe seems to have had carte blanche to do his own thing in Aladdin and he does it extremely well. Nonetheless, it wouldn’t be Aladdin without the earnest, impoverished lad who falls for an exotic princess; is conned by the evil Abanazar; wanders into the Cave of Wonders and releases the Genie from a magic lamp.
Lee Mead (best known for winning the BBC talent show Any Dream Will Do and playing Ben “Lofty” Chiltern in the BBC’s Casualty and Holby City) is a class act as Aladdin. He has natural charm and a powerful voice. He pulls off the puns and enthusiastically throws himself into slapstick scenes with Joe. He really is everything you could wish for from a panto hero.
English National Ballet’s Le Corsaire is a treasure trove of colourful characters and virtuoso dancing. It’s the perfect antidote to the winter blues.
Based very loosely on an 1814 poem by Lord Byron, the narrative of this three-act ballet follows the escapades of a dashing pirate called Conrad and his enchantingly beautiful girlfriend Medora. When Medora is abducted by a slave trader, Conrad and his pirate crew set off on a valiant voyage to rescue her.
It’s an action-packed adventure with incredibly explosive dancing from the men. There are countless bravura leaps, spinning jumps and perpetual pirouettes. The entertainment factor is top-notch. Indeed, thanks to the pirate-themed plot and ballet tricks galore, high jinks on the high seas are guaranteed!
Escape to an exotic realm of pirates, romance and jealousy when English National Ballet revives its spectacular production of Le Corsaire this month.
Six years after the glittering world premiere at Milton Keynes Theatre, English National Ballet’s extravagant staging of Le Corsaire is returning to charm dance fans of all ages.
The lavish Russian ballet, which is loosely based on the 1814 poem The Corsair (The Pirate) by Lord Byron, had never been danced in its entirety in the United Kingdom until English National Ballet’s premiere.
Boasting gutsy dancing and amorous adventures on the high seas, Le Corsaire was rapturously received on its first outing and subsequent tour. More recently, it set sail to delight audiences with glorious performances in Japan, Paris and Spain. This pirate drama has universal appeal!
Be enthralled by the dark tale of an enduring horror figure at a live cinema screening of Northern Ballet’s Dracula this Halloween.
Tonight’s performance of the ballet at Leeds Playhouse will be broadcast in cinemas nationwide as an atmospheric alternative to the usual fright night films. Created and choreographed by Northern Ballet’s artistic director David Nixon OBE, this production of Dracula promises to seduce audiences with sensuous dancing, gripping theatre and eerie music.
The gothic narrative follows a series of chilling events that occur when Count Dracula – an elegant and charismatic immortal of the night, who survives by drinking human blood – leaves his native Transylvania and travels to England. This brooding bloodsucker has become obsessed with his barrister Jonathan Harker’s fiancée, Mina Murray. Predictably, once the Count is on Mina’s home turf, he inflicts havoc by terrorising new victims to get close to her.
Amid passion and power struggles, Mina finds herself wavering between remaining virtuous and succumbing to eternity as a vampire. Could Count Dracula really be caught up in an intense search for legitimate love under the cover of darkness, or is he simply a perverted predator biding his time?
Dance lovers seeking a Halloween treat should expect sinister solos and hot-blooded pas de deux scenes as this ballet with bite unfolds.
Clear your diary, today is World Ballet Day 2019!
Ballet companies around the world open their digital doors on World Ballet Day, inviting us to witness hard work happening in the studio and creativity at play in rehearsals.
The first ever Ballet Day took place in October 2012 when The Royal Ballet streamed a nine-hour day of behind-the-scenes footage. This live broadcast attracted 200,000 viewers and, since then, over 3.6 million viewers have watched via the company’s YouTube archive.
Following the success of this initial celebration, The Royal Ballet united with other major ballet companies all over the world in 2014 to create an annual occasion unlike any other in the dance calendar. Boasting 24 hours of non-stop ballet from all corners of the earth, World Ballet Day offers viewers the chance to discover how different companies strut their stuff. The programme includes company class, rehearsals and interviews with dancers, directors and choreographers.
Unsurprisingly, World Ballet Day is one of my favourite days of the year!