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Northern Ballet - Beauty and the Beast - Autumn/Winter 2016


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Northern Ballet has revived David Nixon's Beauty and the Beast for this section of the Autumn/Winter tour.  As part of a mega-day out, I saw the matinee in Nottingham on Thursday afternoon.

 

This production has a delightful charm about it - there are lots of laughs and some darker moments.  The basis of the scenario is as we know it - the Prince is vain and is turned into a Beast by an "old woman" whom he spurns.  The Old Woman turns out to be a bad-tempered fairy.  Her curse is partially lifted by a Good Fairy who says that he can be redeemed by true love.

 

Beauty's family is in dire straits.  Her Dad goes into the woods to search for food and comes across the Beast's castle.  He takes a rose, which enrages the beast and he is forced to agree to send one of his daughters to the Beast.  Of course Beauty goes, goes from terror to love and the Beast is redeemed.  Cue happy ending!

 

The Prince and The Beast are played by different dancers which allows for the most beautiful and moving trio at the start of Act 2.  The Beast is remembering himself in human form and his human form dances with Beauty.  

 

The scene with the bailiffs in Act 1 is absolutely hilarious!  

 

It may not be the greatest of David Nixon's works but it is great fun and a delight for all the family!

 

On Thursday afternoon I saw Mlindi Kulashe as The Beast.  He brought out all the pathos in the role and proved yet again that he is a wonderful actor.  Ayami Miyata was sublime as Beauty and Joseph Taylor was an elegant Prince.  

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I have a particularly soft spot for this ballet as I took my son to see it, aged about 6.  He had been wavering about whether to continue ballet, but after seeing Beauty and the Beast, there was no turning back.

 

So particularly recommended for those with young sons (or, dare I say it, sceptical partners) - they will never think ballet is "girly" again!

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Me too - for the third or fourth time I think - this time in Southampton in early December.

 

BTW - many members clearly loathe the Mayflower, but I really don't mind it.  Providing it's fairly full and there's a good performance, the atmosphere can be very powerful.  But there are a lot of seats to fill (cap 2,300 according to Wikipedia - about the same as the Coliseum), so a full house at the Leeds Grand or even the Lowry will leave a lot of empty seats in Southampton.  Really can't be much fun for the performers when it's like that...

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  • 1 month later...

Beauty and the Beast opened in Leeds on Thursday for the Christmas season and I was there!

 

I delighted in the production all over again.  I think the story is easy to follow and well put together.

 

We were treated to a performance that was dazzling and moving in equal measure.  Ashley Dixon as the Beast was everything you would expect from a beast but also showed his vulnerable hurt side.  The trio at the start of Act 2 where he is remembering his previous self and imagining Beauty was in love with him was very moving.  Giuliano Contadini as the selfish, vain Prince gave a nuanced performance moving from being incredibly vain and horrible to loving and humble.  Dreda Blow was sublime as Beauty.  All three were fabulous together.

 

Dominique Larose and Rachael Gillespie both showed what fabulous comediennes they are as the silly, spendthrift sisters and Mlindi Kulashe gave a dignified performance as Father.

 

Of course, the Goblins brought the house down!

 

We came out from the performance on a real high.  I can't wait to see it again after Christmas! 

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It seems didn't get round (at the time) to posting my thoughts on the 2 performances I saw of NB's Beauty and the Beast when they came to Nottingham in early November. They were both superb and I love this production but I recall the cast with Miki Akuta as Beauty and Mlindi Kulashe as Beast as being particularly fabulous. They are both dancers I have really loved watching recently; Mlindi is both a fantastic dancer and powerfully dramatic actor. 

 

I was wavering on going to Leeds and having to negotiate packed trains around Christmas but when NB put the casts up yesterday any resistance crumbled! I'm braving the trains on Friday 23 Dec for a chance to see the Akuta/Kulashe partnership again! 

 

Beauty and the Beast is a gorgeous and interesting production, suitable for the whole family and a welcome break from all the Nuts at Christmas. I really love the music score as it contains one of my all time favourite pieces, which is the organ concerto by Saint Saens and NB Sinfonia really do the score justice!

 

Roll on Friday  :)

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Firstly my sincere apologies for a terrible mistake I made in my post #10 above. My brain is clearly failing me. It was in fact the wonderful Ayami Miyata who danced Beauty in the performance I was talking about while Miki Akuta danced one of the fairies. I can't believe how I could make such an unforgivable mistake. No more reviews naming dancers from me......can't trust my poor brain . So sorry.

 

So anyway. I booked to see Beauty today to see again that same wonderful Beast/Beauty partnership. Went all the way to Leeds, 2 hrs on train and while having a pre show drink in pub had the sad email from Leeds Grand saying the performance was cancelled. As Alice said above, it was high winds causing structural damage to the roof of the theatre. Obviously, safety has to be an absolute priority for any theatre but of course both performers and audience must be very disappointed.

 

Very sad. Oh well, at least nobody was hurt. Long train journey though!.. I won't risk re booking Beauty again but look forward to Casanova in March.

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According to a member of staff I spoke to outside the theatre, it wasn't until around noon that the decision was made not to go ahead with the matinee. Very frustrating, especially for those of us who travelled long distances, but most ticket-holders would have already left home before the emails were sent out.

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DD and I watched this afternoon and were totally spellbound from start to finish.

Matthew Topliss was a very emotive Beast, Dominique Larose was a beautiful Beauty and we were entranced by the rest of the cast, who were all wonderful.

 

Just a touch confused as not all the cast appeared to take a bow. I've not seen many ballets, but have seen innumerable other shows and performance and generally the whole cast appear at the end!

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  • 2 weeks later...

My 2017 ballet-watching year started as 2016 ended with Northern Ballet's truly delightful Beauty and the Beast.

 

My one regret is that I had forgotten just how much I enjoyed this work and didn't book more performances, I would love to have seen all the casts.

 

I saw both casts on Saturday.  Saturday evening was led by the peerless Ashley Dixon, Dreda Blow and Giuliano Contadini with delicious sisters from the luminous Pippa Moore and the beautiful, lyrical Dominique Larose.  Hiro Takahashi was fabulous as the Butler Alfred.  It was a wonderful end to a very long season for the Company.

 

In the afternoon we were treated to an outstanding performance by Riku Ito, Antoinette Brooks-Daw and Jeremy Curnier.  Riku brought out all the pathos of The Beast and his dancing could only be described as spectacular.  Antoinette was utterly sublime as Beauty, you could really see her move from terror of the Beast to love.  She is developing a very special on stage partnership with Jeremy Curnier and Saturday afternoon was no exception.  They were just beautiful together.  I loved Jeremy's portrayal as the Prince moving from such unbearable vanity to humility and love.  This really was a performance to savour!  I was in tears after the Clare de Lune duet, after the trio where the Beast is looking back and at the sheer joy at the end of the ballet.

 

I do hope this ballet is soon back in the repertoire and hopefully I will remember in time just how much I enjoy it!!!

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