ENGLISH NATIONAL BALLET
The Bristol Hippodrome
Tuesday 4th – Saturday 8th November 2014
This week I was very excited about going to see Coppélia, the first ballet I’ve seen in years. The boys, on the other hand, were not.
“I don’t like ballet”
“Really? When have you watched any ballet?”
“Uh, not sure, but I know I don’t like it and I don’t really want to come”
I certainly wasn’t going to take them if they weren’t keen as I think it’s important for them to realise how lucky they are to be regular theatre goers but after a conversation about how the skills of a ballet dancer might compare with those of a gymnast, my eight year old was sold.
I reminded my ten year old that some of his favourite shows like Starlight Express featured clever dancing and he decided he’d come after all but he wasn’t exactly jumping up and down at the prospect.
When we arrived I was surprised and disappointed to see a fair few empty seats around the theatre.
Instead of being in the pit, the orchestra was on the same level as us which meant that our row J seats were only three rows back. I felt immersed in high culture but quickly lowered the tone by passing the boys a drumstick – a lolly, not the musical instrument type. (Well, you wouldn’t want them to be those annoying people who rustle sweet wrappers during a live performance, would you?!). The atmosphere felt electric as the audience applauded the conductor’s entrance. I had butterflies waiting for the ballet to start!
English National Ballet’s production is choreographed by Ronald Hynd. The ballet is varied and of course beautiful to watch. The eight year old noted that there were a lot of spins, to which I’d add that there were also a lot of points, leaps and vertical splits. Even during the applause at the end we’re witness to the most graceful bows I’ve ever seen!
- the comedy brought to us through facial expressions and actions
- the colourful costumes and detailed set
- the easy to follow story
- the live performance of the stunning music
- the beautifully choreographed and performed dancing – especially the automaton sequence
This is a great ballet for children as the story is easy to follow – acted out via hand and finger gestures, superb facial expressions and other body language. Each act is only around 3o minutes so retained the boys’ interest. It’s a fun performance with lovely comedy moments which spurred the audience to laugh out loud several times.
The lack of any dialogue means that you need to keep your eyes firmly on the action to follow the plot.
I’m very pleased the boys decided to come as they hardly took their eyes off the stage throughout. My ten year old acknowledged that although he hadn’t expected to like it, it was one of the best shows he’s seen. I would say it’s a great all rounder. Including my Mother, all three generations of us loved it. It’s clever, athletic, energetic, the music is memorable and the women’s costumes beautiful. We weren’t so enamoured of the flesh coloured tights on the men though!
I know ballet can be a really expensive option but tickets are quoted as starting at £11.90. If I had the chance to see this again I would jump at it.
The Bristol Hippodrome
Tuesday 4 November – Saturday 8 November 2014
Performances at 7.30pm (Thurs Mat at 2.30pm, Sat Mat at 2pm)
Tickets: £11.90 – £48.90. Concessions available at certain performances
0844 871 3012 or www.ballet.org.uk/coppelia
Principal casting and listings in detail:
Coppelia (in the order of Swanilda and Franz)
Tuesday 4 November – Shiori Kase and Yonah Acosta
Wednesday 5 November – Erina Takahashi and Fernando Bufala
Thursday 6 November (mat) – Laurretta Summerscales and Junor Souza
Thursday 6 November (eve) – Shiori Kase and Yonah Acosta
Friday 7 November – Elena Glurdjidze and Arionel Vargas
Saturday 8 November (mat) – Tamara Rojo and Yonah Acosta
Saturday 8 November (eve) – Laurretta Summerscales and Junor Souza
OTHER SHOW REVIEWS ON PRACTICALLY PERFECT MUMS
DISCLOSURE: I RECEIVED TICKETS FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS ARE OUR OWN.