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Tag: whats on at the lowry

WIN Tickets To See THE LITTLE PRINCE

WIN Tickets To See THE LITTLE PRINCE

I’m teaming up with The Lowry, Salford Quays, to bring 1 lucky person the chance to win a tickets for a family of 4 to watch Luca Silvestrini’s adaptation of ‘The Little Prince’ on Tuesday 26th November!

Based on the world famous book written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, ‘The Little Prince’ tells the story of a young Prince, who leaves behind his tiny asteroid and beloved rose and journeys through the universe, coming face to face with the baffling world of grown-ups! Have you ever heard of a king who reigns over nothing? Or a businessman obsessively counting stars?

Once on planet Earth, the Little Prince is welcomed by a mysterious snake and a truly wise and friendly fox before encountering the lone pilot. Together they discover the power and beauty of friendship and the complexity of love.

The Little Prince is brought to life using Protein’s award winning mix of dance, humour and spoken word. With an original score by Frank Moon, design by Yann Seabra and lighting by Jackie Shemesh, Protein’s new show invites us to look at the world through one’s heart and to reconnect with our inner child.

“Luca Silvestrini is the sharpest of comic choreographers” The Guardian

All you need to do is sign up to our website for free on this link here That’s it! Competition closes Sunday 24th November, with the winner being notified by email on Monday 25th.

*T&C prize is for 4 tickets to watch The Little Prince at The Lowry on Tuesday 26th November. Tickets are non transferable*

Good Luck!

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Circus 1903 | Review

Circus 1903 | Review

Travelling circus’ in today’s day and age have evolved greatly from those of yesteryear, and certainly aren’t on the same size scale. Gone are touring cities as they were known, and gone are the use of captive animals, thank goodness. But, there is something so nostalgic about the golden age of circus, and Circus 1903 have captured the essence of that perfectly.

Bringing the big top to the stage, Circus 1903 is everything you would hope and imagine it to be and more! From the music composed by Evan Jolly, to the set and costumes, everything is there to transport you back to your youth, a more simple time of good old fashioned fun and wonder. Comedy and participation from the children in the audience bring a whimsical and genuine feel good factor to the show. Contortionists with eye watering flexibility, acts of balance that seem to defy gravity, jugglers with skills faster than the speed of light, performers using ariel silks creating a ballet in the sky, this show has it all and more.48479750521_5781cc6017_k

The creators of the show really wanted to harness the essence of a typical circus in their hay day, and it was important to them to keep the show as original as possible. Acts such as the ‘russian cradle’ (where the ‘flyer’ is thrown and caught by the ‘catcher’ who is secured by a harness, and essentially acts as a human trapeze,) are included as a traditional circus acts and display not only feats of flexibility and timing, but incredible strength. Another aspect to the authenticity of the show, are the 2 life size elephant puppets, Queen and baby Peanut, created by the team behind War Horse. Majestic Queenie takes up half the stage with her imposing size, her eyes seem to reveal a real soul. Baby Peanut is as mischievous as any young animal, and is a firm favourite with the children in the audience. Whether it be down to the ingenious design and construction, or the true magic of the circus, these 2 elephants are brought to life right before your very eyes!48479901342_83c84b755f_k

Willy Whipsnade, the resident Ringmaster, is the glue that holds all these individual acts together. Originally from a magic background, Willy (aka David Williamson) is the perfect ringmaster, introducing each act with his fabulous story telling skills, which effortlessly build anticipation in the audience! His real skills lie in creating a magical experience for the younger members of the audience! He clearly adores children, and frequently pulls them up out of the audience for some magic tricks and comedy interludes. As they say in showbiz, ‘never work with animals or children’ and poor Willy has to do both! Needn’t fear though, as his razor sharp whit and quick as a whip ad lib moments means he controls rampaging baby elephants and unpredictable children with a healthy dose of comedy. Willy Whipsawed is the eccentric uncle figure, who’s traveled the world and has the most exciting stories of adventure to tell!48479750191_abdc0543aa_k

Circus 1903 is 2 hours 20 minutes of pure escapism that will awaken your inner child for an evening without worries or regrets, just simple, innocent fun and wonderment. In this day and age, that is priceless.

Circus 1903 will be rolling into The Lowry, Salford Quays, on Tuesday 19th November until Sunday 24th November. Tickets are available now on this link https://thelowry.com/whats-on/circus-1903/

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MB New Adventures ROMEO & JULIET | Review

MB New Adventures ROMEO & JULIET | Review

Sir Matthew Bourne’s company, New Adventures, are frequent visitors to The Lowry in Salford Quays. The were the second ever company to perform there when the theatre was newly built, and as such, scedule tour dates at The Lowry around twice a year. Last year, I reviewed their infamous Swan Lake, which you can read here Matthew Bourne’s New Adventure SWAN LAKE Review and now they have a 5 night stop with Romeo & Juliet.

As with all Matthew Bourne’s productions, expect the unexpected. Yes, this is a tragic story of two clandestine lovers, but definitely not the one you will be familiar with. From the very first glimpse of the production, you know you’re in for a treat. The dramatic fall of the blood red sheer curtain sets the tone for the whole show, as does the stark and clincal white stage set revealed behind it.

It’s difficult for me to write this review without giving too much away, and as art is subjective, I want you to be able to come to your own conclusions of the plot. What I will say is rather than having 2 familes at war, Sir Matthew has created the segregation but as a boy/girl gender divide. I felt that Romeo & Juliet have a sort of role reversal. Romeo (Paris Fitzpatrick) being the unsure, deer in headlights, damsel in distress, who is taken under the protective wings of Juliet (Cordelia Braithwaite). She is a character who knows what she wants, and how to get it, and certainly seems to take the lead in their duets together.ROMEO AND JULIET

The contemporary dance style compliments this new theme and plot. Bold, strong and accented steps along side some very lyrical, soft and at times, practically floating sequences, match the themes of lust and true love, violence and submission. I particularly enjoyed the guttural noises, audible heavy breathing and stamps in unison, adding yet another intriguing layer. Of course, the original score by Prokofiev allows for such yin yang choreography, however, even the music is different! This version has had a brand new reworking of the original music, and it has been so intricately intertwined with the story.ROMEO AND JULIET

Fear not, for there are some things which cannot be unwritten. What holds are 2 young people finding eachother against the odds and declaring their undying love for one another. Finding a bond so strong that they would (and do) die for each other. Expect a lot of blood, which contrasts perfectly with the bleached white surroundings. The aftermath is a bloodbath, horror film worthy vision!

Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures ROMEO & JULIET is appearing at The Lowry 11-16th June. Tickets are still available via The Lowry https://thelowry.com/whats-on/matthew-bournes-romeo-and-juliet/

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New Adventures Company Interview | Neil Westmoreland

New Adventures Company Interview | Neil Westmoreland

Laat week I was invited to a special preview performance of Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Company ‘Romeo & Juliet‘ in Manchester, ahead of the tour visiting The Lowry. I was able to not only watch rehearsals and see the inner workings of the cast and crew, but also got to chat with the resident director, Neil Westmoreland and a couple of the young cast members about working on a retelling of a classic story and what it’s like being part of such an innovative dance company.

*Sitting at a small table in an open plan space, Neil Westmoreland joins me for a casual, informal chat, ahead of the planned schedule, due to an important meeting, as is so common within the arts. Plans are susceptible to change and you have to be versatile *

DN: Neil, you are a former New Adventures company dancer and are now the resident director. Would you say that’s a natural progression in the dance world?

NW: I started dancing with New Adventures about 2003, then took time out for around 5 years to teach. I teturned to dance for NA, and then luckily landed the role of residnet director. I wouldn’t say it’s always a natural progression for everyone, but it was for me, as I got a chance to tie both my skills of dancing and teaching together.

DN: You’ve previously performed Romeo & Juliet with Northern Ballet and English National Ballet but never New Adventures. Do you feel like you’ve missed out somewhat?

NW: No not at all. I’m too old now *laughs* The score is so brilliant on this production, I just feel lucky to be here and part of such a collaborative effort. We have 2 cast teams , Capulets and Montagues (of course) touring the country at the same time, with a young cast ensemble from each destination. It’s a huge undertaking.

DN: Matthew Bourne is famous for putting his own spin on well known stories. Without giving too much away, what can the audience expect from his version of Romeo & Juliet?

NW: *hmm* without giving too much away is quite difficult, I don’t want to spoil it! There is a lot of drama, it’s quite intense. Whatever you are expecting, it’s not going to be that! It’s very musical, quite unique!

DN: Which character is your favorite in this production and why?

NW: Hard to choose just one! *Thinks for a moment* Romeo is really special, he’s such a multi-layered character, and the men who are dancing his part are fantastic. Tybalt is an interesting twist! Juliet is not a typical feminine role. She’s young and strong. She embodies what’s happening in today’s world with the feminist movement.

DN: Why should people come and watch new Adventures production of Romeo & Juliet?

NW: Why?! Why not! A) This is our version of a classic story, New Adventures fans are going to be very pleased! And B) with the addition of the toung cast ensemble dancers from each location, we are championing new emerging talent from their local areas, and by coming to watch, the audience will be helping to suppprt them. And it’s not only the dancers, we have local experts in music, set design, costume, lighting, it really is a spectacle!

DN: Lastly, describe the show in 3 words.

NW: wow, you’re really testing me now! *Thinks for a moment* Ok, so firstly, dramatic!!! Secondly, musical. The socre is wonderful, it’s very melodic. Lastly, I’d say innovative! It’s fresh and new, very exciting!

You can see for yourself how exciting it looks by watching the official trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLvAiPOg_5M

New Adventures Romeo & Juliet arrives at The Lowry, Salford Quays tonight, Tuesday 11th June until Saturday 15th June. Tickets can be purchased through their website here https://thelowry.com/whats-on/matthew-bournes-romeo-and-juliet/

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Northern Ballet’s The Great Gatsby | Review

Northern Ballet’s The Great Gatsby | Review

Critically acclaimed novel The Great Gatsby , first published in 1925 by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a story of love, passion, and the american dream. It is considered to be one of the great american novels. In 2013, it was brought to life on cinema screens by director Baz Luhrmann and won a whole host of Academy Awards. The very same year, David Nixon OBE created a ballet based on the story, and it is now one of Northern Ballet’s most successful productions in it’s history!

From the offset, the mood is set with the wonderdul music played by Northern Ballet Sinfonia. Each piece of music is almost hypnotic, with a definite hint of jazz, as was popular in the 1920’s, and of course, there is the obligatory Charleston thrown in for good measure!

The set design, by Jèrôme Kaplan, is ingenious. The changes between scenes happen almost without being noticed, having been cleverly intertwined with the choreography of the servants and their chores.

The Great gatsby, NORTHERN BALLET:Jay Gatsby; TOBIAS BATLEY,Daisy Buchanan; MARTHA LEEBOLT, Myrtle Wilson; VICTORIA SIBSON, Tom Buchanan; KENNETH TINDALL,Nick Carraway; GIULIANO CONTADINI, Jodan Baker; HANNAH BATEMAN, George Wilson; BENJAMIN MITCHELL, You

Julie Anderson assisted David Nixon with the costume design. They are instantly recognisable as being from the roaring 20’s era, with dropped waists, delicate fabrics and fringes, daper waistcoats and ties, and plenty of headwear. No expenses spared where Gatsby is concerned!

The Great gatsby, NORTHERN BALLET:Jay Gatsby; TOBIAS BATLEY,Daisy Buchanan; MARTHA LEEBOLT, Myrtle Wilson; VICTORIA SIBSON, Tom Buchanan; KENNETH TINDALL,Nick Carraway; GIULIANO CONTADINI, Jodan Baker; HANNAH BATEMAN, George Wilson; BENJAMIN MITCHELL, You

The choreography is truly stunning. Yes, it’s classical ballet, with the majority being familiar steps, however it has a flavor of a more contemporary style in places, with some really spectacular lifts that will make you gasp out loud! Naturally, once the orchestra start playing the Charleston, so too do the cast dance the Charleston, and their energy will make you want to join in!

The whole cast are insanely talented. They not only dance on stage, but are genuinely acting through their dancing. Even though no words are spoken, you can follow the plot of the story without any prior knowledge of the book or film. Telling a story through dance is one thing, but telling a story with dance is another.

Daisy Buchanan, danced by Antoinette Brooks Daw, shines on stage. The articulation theough her feet and the carriage of her arms make her appear to be floating. The anguish of her character is clear to see on her face.

The Great gatsby, NORTHERN BALLET:Jay Gatsby; TOBIAS BATLEY,Daisy Buchanan; MARTHA LEEBOLT, Myrtle Wilson; VICTORIA SIBSON, Tom Buchanan; KENNETH TINDALL,Nick Carraway; GIULIANO CONTADINI, Jodan Baker; HANNAH BATEMAN, George Wilson; BENJAMIN MITCHELL, You

Ashley Dixon danced the part of Jay Gatsby. He dances with such a calm demeanour, perfect for his aloof character, and his sincerity when dancing with Daisy is beautiful to watch.

The Great gatsby, NORTHERN BALLET:Jay Gatsby; TOBIAS BATLEY,Daisy Buchanan; MARTHA LEEBOLT, Myrtle Wilson; VICTORIA SIBSON, Tom Buchanan; KENNETH TINDALL,Nick Carraway; GIULIANO CONTADINI, Jodan Baker; HANNAH BATEMAN, George Wilson; BENJAMIN MITCHELL, You

Daisy’s cousin, Nick Carraway aka Kevin Poeung is so light on his feet. He barley makes a sound after landing some staggeringly high jumps.

The Great gatsby, NORTHERN BALLET:Jay Gatsby; TOBIAS BATLEY,Daisy Buchanan; MARTHA LEEBOLT, Myrtle Wilson; VICTORIA SIBSON, Tom Buchanan; KENNETH TINDALL,Nick Carraway; GIULIANO CONTADINI, Jodan Baker; HANNAH BATEMAN, George Wilson; BENJAMIN MITCHELL, You

Pippa Moore dances the character of Jordan Baker, Daisy’s best friend. She certainly saunters when on stage, makimg the most of every leg and arm line and slow, elegant head turn.

The Great gatsby, NORTHERN BALLET:Jay Gatsby; TOBIAS BATLEY,Daisy Buchanan; MARTHA LEEBOLT, Myrtle Wilson; VICTORIA SIBSON, Tom Buchanan; KENNETH TINDALL,Nick Carraway; GIULIANO CONTADINI, Jodan Baker; HANNAH BATEMAN, George Wilson; BENJAMIN MITCHELL, You

Northern ballet’s The Great Gatsby is not one to be missed, and it’s clear after watching it, why it’s one of their most popular productions. One of the most emotive dance pieces I’ve had the privilege to watch. The Great Gatsby is showing at the lowry, Salford Quays until Saturday 11th, with tickets still available on this link https://thelowry.com/whats-on/northern-ballet-the-great-gatsby/

It then moves on to Southampton Mayflower 15-18th of May to conclude it’s current run. All details can be found on Northern Ballet’s website https://northernballet.com/the-great-gatsby

NB. Photos curtesy of The Lowry and picture Jay Gatsby; TOBIAS BATLEY,Daisy Buchanan; MARTHA LEEBOLT, Myrtle Wilson; VICTORIA SIBSON, Tom Buchanan; KENNETH TINDALL,Nick Carraway; GIULIANO CONTADINI, Jodan Baker; HANNAH BATEMAN, George Wilson; BENJAMIN MITCHELL, Young Daisy; MICHELA PAOLACCI, Young Gatsby; JEREMY CURNIER,

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Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Beauty & the Beast Review

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Beauty & the Beast Review

Forget the story you think you know of Beauty and the Beast, and be transported back into a world of folklore and enchantment with the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s retelling of this classic fairytale.

From the moment the curtain rises, you’re thrust into a magical medieval relm and back to your childhood. The swish of a cloak turns a bright eyed bushy tailed fox into a fiery red headed girl almost instantly. Furniture that serve unexpected guests of their own free will. Seeing is most definitely believing, and you’re not even wondering about the how, because it’s all too captivating.

Yvette knight was innocent and unassuming as Belle. Perfect for “a girl with her nose ways stuck in a book” Her stature and pose gave her dancing an etherial quality.40182381283_cf236822a6_o

The Beast was danced by Brandon Lawrence. He performed with great power and intensity, an angered and ferocious wild animal. His leaps and jumps are gravity defying.40182381453_bc023aedfe_z

Beatrice Parma as Vixen was my personal favorite. With a twinkle in her eye and a spring in her step, she was every inch the sprightly fox maiden. Her dancing was effortless and the height of her leg extensions were breathtaking!40182381063_cee32c0db8_z

The setting and lighting designs seemed to have been lifted straight from pages of a fairy story. Grandeur book cases filled with leather bound, gilded books, castle ruins suffocating in vines and roses, not forgetting an enchanting ball room, complete with candles and chandeliers. Artifical smoke played a huge role in creating atmosphere, with beams of light breaking through to create light and hope, and dim underlighting when a more ominous feel was needed.46233108045_929f0ea552_z

There were surprising comedy elements included, particularly in Act 2, involving Belle’s 2 sisters (Laura Purkiss and Samara Downs) fighting over a portly suiter Monsieur Cochon (James Barton) and a pompus court dance!

The costumes really were exquisite! With luxury silks, heavy velour and plenty of embroidery and brocading, it was clear no expense was spared. The Beast’s and other animal’s fur ‘skin’ was very cleaverly achieved with catsuits covered in textured tufts, and their masks were immediately identifiable as to the animal they were. I, along with everyone I’m sure, were waiting to see Belle’s trademark yellow princess gown and how that could possibly be danced in. When she finally emerged, there were gasps from the audience. A very extravagant yet practical conpromise had been made, that still created all the drama and opulence you’d expect! Stunning!47147351751_c21d0690bb_z

2 scenes stood out for me in particular. The first, when Belle is transported to the Beast’s castle by a flock of birds. There were so many dancers on stage, all intertwining in different directions, just like a group of starlings dance in the sky. Mesmerising and distracting and suddenly Belle is flying above them. The second, when Belle and the Beast dance in the ballroom with all the other enchanted animals. They waltzed and turned, reminding me of the scene from the film ‘Labyrinth’ where Sarah is dancing with Jareth at a masquerade ball and the other gueats are all wearing animal like masks.

 

This production would make a wonderful family treat. The BRB have a programme called ‘First Steps’ – shortened, more easy to follow story lines for a younger audience – however this production was so filled with magic and wonder, it’s an ideal first full length production for children or ballet new comers. It also has a happy ending unlike the majority of ballet tales, so no awkwardness to explain away!

Beauty and the Beast is showing at The Lowry untill Saturday 23rd March, before it heads on to Sunderland and concludes in Bristol,so don’t miss out on your chance to see this gorgoeus production! Ticket info can be found on the website https://www.brb.org.uk/whats-on/event/beauty-and-the-beast-2019

Unitll the last petal falls…….

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Matthew Bourne’s New Adventure SWAN LAKE Review

Matthew Bourne’s New Adventure SWAN LAKE Review

Matthew Bourne has an incredible talent for turning an age old and traditional story, such as Swan Lake, and thrusting it beak first into the 21st century. His take on the classic tale, with his company New Adventures is far more menacing and somber than the original. Its one of inner turmoil and depravity, provocation and lust, entrapment and finally freedom.

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The show opens with the young Prince in bed, being awoken by the hum drum of palace life. The mixed corps de ballet of butlers and maids all hurry with military precision. , using angular arm and head movements, swift changes of direction and robotic stature. With it, we sense the beginning of the Prince (played by Dominic North) is unhappy with his regimented and stifling life.

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The Queen, was played by Katrina Lyndon. She bought a regal and sophisticated edge to her character. Her dancing was elegant and had wonderful poise, using her upper body well, and great strength and control with her legs, to effortlessly glide across the floor. Katrina used her facial expressions well, an eye roll here, a displeasing look there, which were discreet yet added to the story perfectly. My favourite scene of hers was at the Black Ball, held at the Palace. Everyone wearing black, yet she appears in a stunning red dress. She dances with The Stranger in a immensely provocative routine. She echoes perfectly the traditional role of the black swan, the seductive temptress, bold and confident in her approach, with burning eye contact. This is possibly why she is wearing red, as, did you know, Odile didn’t wear black until the early 1940’s, the original productions instead choosing bright and bold colours.

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Dominic North’s performance as the Prince is a harrowing one. He starts off frantic in his movements, to shoe his resentment to his life, changing to being light and free when he has the love and affection from The Swan, will well elevated and athletic allegro, finally lashing out in desperation at the end. His pas de deux with his mother is particularly upsetting. You see his need for love from his mother, begging her to hold him, literally clinging onto her. You see her rejecting him to conform to standards. As an audience member, you almost plead with her to relent and just give him a hug. Dominic’s performance is powerful and emotive.

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The girlfriend character (Carrie Willis) is a brash character adding a layer of humour to the production. Everything from her costume to her demeanour and actions provoke laughs from the audience. She perfectly captures the stereotypical air headed bimbo character and certainly puts her gazelle like legs to good use.

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The Swan and The Stranger are played by the same dancer, just as Odette and Odile are also danced by the same ballerina. Will Bozier did an incredible job of acting within his dancing, being so convincing as 2 separate characters, you’d be forgiven in thinking they were not the same people. As the swan, he is coy at first, unwilling to interact with the Prince. His movements are large and strong, imitating a real swan when it is threatened, protecting itself. Then he softens, when he and the prince dance their pas de deux, becoming the protector role, lifting the Prince, nuzzling and nurturing him. As The Stranger, not only does his appearance change, so does his dancing and with it his character. With his leather trousers, he is immediately portrayed as a bad boy role. His lusty looks and bold swagger transform him to represent power and danger. He dances with every woman in the ballroom. The dance is reminiscent of an Argentine tango, full of passion, bodies always close, legs frantically working. He ends as the swan again in the scenes. The Princes protector once again,from the other swans who have turned on them both. Will uses his body language and facial expressions so well, that even if he were not in specific costumes, you’d instantly identify the character he would be portraying.

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The final scenes are danced with an all male ensemble, the traditional corps de ballet being replaced by a male corps. Included are some sequences from the more traditional productions, including ‘entrance of the swans’ and ‘dance of the cygnets’ but of course with an altogether more robust and rugged feel, with far more jumps, syncopation and unique poses, now synomymus with his version. The swans take on the role of an angry mob. Their muscular and athletic physiques perfectly embody than of a swan, beautiful to look at yet strong and powerful, a force to be reckoned with. They act and think as ‘one’ ultimately seizing control of the situation, strength in numbers. The use of the resistance in their arms and hisses audible to the audience create an imposing and sinister feel from the very beginning.

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Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake has been performed for over 20 years now, premiering back in 1995. He uses concepts and ideas from the more traditional versions yet adds a more contemporary and modern feel, adding highlights paying homage to other great choreographers such as Bob Fosse. In 2018, the production underwent some revising to the set, lighting and choreography to keep it just as fresh as its ever been. It deals with relevant topics in todays society of sexual preferences, acceptance, temptation, and the basic human need for love. And boy did the audience love it on opening night at The Lowry Manchester, with a staggering 4 minute standing ovation. That alone is testament to the talent of the cast, and Matthew Bourne’s success in creating a production that’s become a traditional one in its own right.

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Don’t just take our word on how mind blowing it is! Read more about the production, the company members and tour life, in our interview with cast member Andrew Ashton https://danceniche.com/2018/11/29/qa-with-andrew-ashton-new-adventures-company-member/

New Adventure’s Swan Lake is currently showing at The Lowry Manchester until 1st Dec. Ticket prices start at £28.50 and can be purchased via their website here TheLowry.com Further information about the tour’s upcoming dates and locations can be found on the New Adventures website MB’S New Adventures

*Special thanks to The Lowry Manchester and photographer Johan Persson, using photographs from the production at the Royal Theatre Plymouth*

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SIX! The Musical | Review

SIX! The Musical | Review

SIX ex wives, joining forces to hate on their ex, may sound like a title from the Jeremy Kyle show, but it’s actually a brand new musical, with a concept that fresh, that it’s already reaching a whole new audience and enticing virgin theatre goers to experience their first taste of theatre action30179563607_509a23a020_k

Six! The Musical, tells the individual stories of the six wives of Henry VIII (that’s Henry 8th, good job I listened in history lessons). Written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, the show has already recieved critical acclaim after selling over 10,000 tickets at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Since then, Six has been gaining momentum with a multitude of 5 star reviews, nominations in 4 categories for the Broadway UK Awards and shows no sign of slowing down. This musical juggernaut is pelting full steam ahead and seemingly nothing can stand in it’s way, not even Henry VIII.43303878010_598e720c24_k

But just what is it exactly that makes the production so appealing???? Is it the talent?! The six girls cast as the wives all have individual vocal credibilities, including tours with 42nd St, The Colour Purple and Thoroughly Modern Millie. Is it the music?! Songs like ‘Don’t lose your head’ ‘Ex Wives’ and my particular favourite ‘Haus of Holbein’ will creep into your ears and take over your brain with their catchy melodies and clever lyrics. Is it the hint of feminism?! Hell hath no fury than a woman scorned, so throw 5 more into the mix, you’ve got a vengeful tribe, shouting out to women with a sorry story to tell to stand up and fight back! Or is it the fact that it re writes history, telling a story that is all too familiar to us, but bringing it bang up to date with 21 century sass-itutde! And a happy ending, we all love a happy ending!44397214974_5ef74388c7_k

The fact that this production has moved away from the traditional stage musical format, opting instead for a pop concert vibe is genius!  The chemistry the six wives have on stage is tangible, yet genuine. So much so, that you’d be forgiven for thinking they were an actual girl band – Spice Girls eat your heart out! Watching this musical is more like attending a greatest hits tour! Yet they all have their individuality. Jarneia Richard-Noel  (Catherine of Aragon) the wise wise, loyal one. Millie O’Connell (Anne Boleyn) the cheeky seductressNatalie Paris (Jane Seymour) the soft endearing one. Alexia McIntosh (Anne of Cleves) the smug one. Aimee Atkinson (Katherine Howard) the niave  misunderstood one and finally Maiya Quansah-Breed (Catherine Parr) the last one and the peacemaker. Their dancing and costumes also reflect this.44397204634_5a54b61549_k

I cannot recommend Six! The musical enough! Perfect for hen do’s, birthday surprises or simply someone looking for a feel good factor show. Not only is it 75 minutes of pure pop hits (songs that would undoubtably rival any current chart topper) but it introduces a whole new audience to the world of theatre, encouraging and inspiring a younger generation to keep theatre alive for the future.  Never mind pop princesses, these queens are taking over, the new royals of theatre land have been coronated and long may they reign!31243712258_6cbafec169_k

 

Six! is currently touring and will be appearing at The Lowry Salford 4th-16th Dec, before heading off to Glasgow SEC 20-30th Dec and finally London Arts Theatre 17th Jan – 5th May. All details and ticket information can be found on their website here Six The Musical 

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Review – La Fille Mal Gardeé | Birmingham Royal Ballet

Review – La Fille Mal Gardeé | Birmingham Royal Ballet

On approach to The Lowry Theatre Salford Quays, the exterior neon blue lights make it hard to miss. The bright colours continue inside with a modern, almost industrial feel. So it’s fitting that a non traditional ballet production such as Birmingham Royal ballet’s La Fille Mal Gardeé (or La Fille for short) would be showing there.

If you’re not familiar with the story, here are the cliff notes. La Fille Mal Gardeé roughly translates as ‘the wayward daughter’ and is set amongst the rolling hills of the countryside. A rule breaking daughter and overly controlling mother are at the centre of the story, including a handsome lover and a particulalry awkward suiter.44331935275_7f78d0ead4_k

Lise, the daughter is played by Miki Mizutani, the most dainty, music box perfect ballerina I’ve had the pleasure of watching. Her breezy, carefree demeanour was endearing, but boy can she pout when she doesn’t get her own way! There were a couple of hair raising moments with entangled ribbons and pointe shoes, but Miki had the quick thinking skills to breeze through them too, picking the choreography back up almost seamlessly – sign of a true pro! Her highlight for me, was a balance in attitude en pointe, whilst holding a bunch of ribbons above her head, and being turned on the spot by the dancers at the opposite ends of the ribbons!44331934325_4c646a21f2_k

Lise’s mother, Widow Simone, keeps an eagle eye on her daughter to prevent her getting up to mischief. Played by the larger than life Rory Mackay. With his genius comedic timing and over the top facial expressions, he easily makes the widow one of the most well loved characters in the story. Despite sporting some major padding and numerous layers of peticoats, he managed to execute a perfectly timed clog dance, which even that wasn’t without some comedy highlights!44331936345_e5b8c6da72_k

Alain is the son of a prosperous vineyard owner, played by Kit Holder, and whom the Widow has chosen to marry her daughter off to. At first, the proposed nuptials between him and Lise, makes you resent him a little, however being teased by the villagers and having his hopes of finding a beautiful bride dashed, you certainly warm to him. The way Kit plays Alain is a cross somewhere between Worsel Gummage and Franck Spencer, and his ability to dance without an inch of style or technique despite his high calibre training and skill, is an art in itself, and he easily steals the funniest character crown!44331937085_afdabb5c5c_k

The star of the show however comes as somewhat as a surprise, one which I’m not going to spoil for you. You’ll have to watch the production for yourself to find out, just get ready for the ‘awwwww’ factor!

No story is complete without a hunky love interest, and Lachlan Monahan fits this role like a glove. He plays Calas, a young farmer in love with Lise. His busrts of energy and athletic jumps during the allegro defy gravity, his tour en l’air and pirouettes a la seconde are sturdy and precise! Not to forget the way he partners Miki with a nurturing quality and genuine affection.30303623857_0347facea1_k

La Fille Mal Gardeé is a ballet that has it all – intricate choreography, pas de deux, comedy, folk dance, a maypole and more comedy. Did I mention it has comedy in it?! There are so many tongue in cheek, slap stick moments, it’s reminiscent of a classic pantomime, complete with its own widow! In fact, it should be reclassified from a ballet, to ‘pa-llet’ or ‘ball-to’ maybe even ‘balle-tomime’ – you get the picture.30303624647_e226e69ae9_k

The uplifting music and joyful colours of the cotumes really cement La Fille as a ballet for all, young or old, first time watching a ballet or seasoned pro. Birmingham Royal Ballet have a programme called First Steps, specially tailored to better suit the needs of children, however La Fille is such a gleeful delight, I’d have no issues taking my 2 young daughters to see this version. It would serve as a perfect way to introduce children to a full length production.44331936005_f014b018f6_k

Birmingham Royal Ballet are currently performing La Fille Mal Gardeé at The Lowry Manchester until 27th October 2018, where they move on to Salder’s Wells Theatre 1st-3rd Nov and finally The Grand Opera House Belfast 7-9th Nov. Tickets and more information on dates and locations can be found here https://www.brb.org.uk/whats-on/event/la-fille-mal-gardee

La Fille Mal Gardeé is certainly not one to be missed, my cheeks are still aching from smiling the whole way through, and if laughter is good for the soul, then watching la Fille should be prescribed as therapy!

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