4 February 2014

Everything is beautiful...at the Ballet

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As it's my Year of Culture one of the first things to tick of my Culture List was going to the ballet. I've watched a lot on Sky Arts (Bolshoi doing Bolero last week - amazing) but never been. So I checked out what was going on at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle and booked me and a friend into the first one on their event calendar. So off we went to the Scottish Ballet's interpretatation of Hansel & Gretel. I haven't reviewed dance before but thought I'd better get to it as I am planning to attend quite a bit of dance this year.

I was sitting in the gods, and couldn't see the orchestra (I used to play in orchestras so like to watch them as much as the action on stage) but these minor issues didn't detract from the beauty of it. The main thing about it is it's such an escape, at some points I was thinking, "what the hell are they doing that for" or "what's the point of dancing across the stage like that at that point" and then decided to switch my annoying, analytical brain off and just enjoy it! So what if there is no rhyme or reason to what they are doing sometimes? It's not a bloody stage play, it's dance.

In a nutshell (or breadcrumb)...

The costumes were stunning (particularly the witch's white gown with a long train that was fanned out by the ravens carrying her). The ravens blended into the background as they were supposed to, but had sparkly jackets which caught the light just perfectly . I liked it when the witch threw her ballet shoes away and danced around in rabbit slippers. It was whimsical.

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The sets were magical and amazingly real - the banquet, the bourgeouis nature of Hansel & Gretel's house (complete with TV). The piece de resistance was the gingerbread house - mouth-wateringly realistic. You could tell you were in for a treat with the sweetie/lollipop covered screen  - I liked how the action took place behind this at the start and just after the interval, giving it an ethereal quality. It really tapped into what it is like to be childlike and curious, and explored how that curiousity and adventure can sometimes bite us if unchecked (or attempt to put us in an oven). It also posed questions about things that are not as the seem and temptation. I was a bit lost in Act I, but the traditional story came to the fore in Act II. Great work all round.

I'm hoping to go to a lot more dance this year, and my reviews on these things should steadily improve as a result. Watch this (dance) space...

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