REVIEW: Northern Ballet’s ‘Victoria’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, May 2019

 

Northern Ballet’s Victoria is an enthralling epic that intelligently and emotively chronicles Queen Victoria’s life as a monarch and mother.

Created to celebrate this year’s 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth, the ambitious two-act ballet is the impressive handiwork of acclaimed British choreographer Cathy Marston. Her spirited exploration of Victoria as a passionate woman, emblematic queen, working mother and stricken widow inventively depicts some of the most significant events in this remarkable Royal’s life.

Working alongside dramaturg Uzma Hameed, Marston has managed to condense Victoria’s lengthy reign (she spent 63 of her 81 years on the throne) into two hours of absorbing dance.

 

Northern Ballet's 'Victoria'.

 

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NEWS: Northern Ballet returns with ‘Victoria’, a new dance production fit for a queen – Milton Keynes Theatre, April 2019

 

Revel in a royal visit when Northern Ballet brings its latest ambitious narrative ballet, Victoria, to Milton Keynes Theatre next week.

The title character is, of course, Queen Victoria and the production’s inaugural year in Northern Ballet’s repertoire coincides with the 200th anniversary of her birth.

Britain’s second-longest reigning monarch (her record was broken in 2015 by her great-great-granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II) was famously “not amused”. Ironically, Victoria remains a figure of fascination and inspiration to the people who produce our entertainment today.

 

Northern Ballet dancers Abigail Prudames and Joseph Taylor as Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in Victoria. Photo by Guy Farrow.

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REVIEW: Northern Ballet’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, April 2018

 

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 dancers in The Little Mermaid

 

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INTERVIEW with Abigail Prudames, Northern Ballet, April 2018

 

Northern Ballet soloist Abigail Prudames is taking dance audiences on an amazing aquatic adventure 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!

 

Northern Ballet dancer Abigail Prudames.

 

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REVIEW: Northern Ballet’s ‘Swan Lake’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, April 2016

 

Northern Ballet’s Swan Lake is overflowing with dance content and features a love triangle that makes the most of the Company’s premier dancers.

There is no definitive version of the iconic classical ballet so choreographers the world over endeavour to continue the history of this masterpiece in their own unique way. Set during the last days of the Belle Époque, Northern Ballet’s Swan Lake provides a no-nonsense rationale for the main character’s connection to water and, thanks to its focus on three close friends experiencing intense and passionate emotions for each other, plenty of opportunities for dramatic partnering.

An atmospheric Prologue functions as an absorbing mini drama, recounting the lakeside loss that drives David Nixon’s inventive narrative.

 

Northern Ballet’s Swan Lake. Northern Ballet dancers Kenneth Tindall and Keiko Amemori in Swan Lake. Photo by Bill Cooper.

 

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