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Jan McNulty

Northern Ballet : Victoria by Cathy Marston, First Run

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I expect it was different production companies.  Casanova was filmed by Sky but I don't know who the production company was for Victoria.

 

Casanova turned up again on Sky Arts a couple of months ago so worth looking out for on repeats.

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The Preston Odeon printed off cast list/plot synopsis for us. However, the 2 gentlemen sitting next to me left in the interval saying it was 'absolute rubbish'.

The Cast list mentioned a website www.cinemalive.com who describe themselves as 'one of the world's leading producers and distributors of Premium Event Cinema'. They also list NB Dracula and other ballets by Australian Ballet including The Merry Widow and Spartacus as well as more pop based and also theatrical events.

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33 minutes ago, jmhopton said:

The Preston Odeon printed off cast list/plot synopsis for us. However, the 2 gentlemen sitting next to me left in the interval saying it was 'absolute rubbish'.

The Cast list mentioned a website www.cinemalive.com who describe themselves as 'one of the world's leading producers and distributors of Premium Event Cinema'. They also list NB Dracula and other ballets by Australian Ballet including The Merry Widow and Spartacus as well as more pop based and also theatrical events.

Well, I have to agree with the two gentlemen! I nearly walked out after the first act but decided to persevere & to be fair, the second act was better, but nothing would induce me to see this ballet again.

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9 hours ago, Sharon said:

I have always enjoyed Cathy Marsden's ballets, I love her narrative approach and I find her choreography highly inventive and individual. This was displayed especially in the Victoria/Albert pdd and the pas de trois in act 1. Some of the lifts were amazing. Someone wrote that they found the pdd embarrassing??  I found it to be 'real'. But that comment made me laugh -remembering the outraged audience in Paris when they saw Nijinsky's  Faune humping the nymphs shawl. 1912 -2019, some things never change.😂

The alarm went off during the film and the lights came on, before any of us had the chance to moan, a woman announced that we had Beatrice in the audience. Then Pippa Moore introduced herself, explaining since she was from Liverpool she had decided to watch the film -for the first time, here with us. We then had a spontaneous question/answer session with her. As usual she was delightful and answered all questions and even explained the storyline to those who were confused. I was greatly relieved when she told us she is in fact remaining with the company to coach and pass on her roles to the younger company members. If that's what happens when the film is interrupted - I'm ok with that! Thank you Pippa.

Was this the best ballet I've ever seen by Cathy Marsden? No. I've enjoyed her others more. But there were undeniable moments of pure brilliance and creative ability that is astounding. Which is why I will always go to see any/all of her ballet's and I eagerly await the next one!

I'm so sorry you found my comment about the pas de deux between Victoria & Albert so amusing Sharon! In my world, less is more. I would much rather see such moments in my imagination, but these days everything is on display. So crass. By the way, the name is Marston......

Edited by SusanR
Forgot to add something

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9 minutes ago, SusanR said:

I'm so sorry you found my comment about the pas de deux between Victoria & Albert so amusing Sharon! In my world, less is more. I would much rather see such moments in my imagination, but these days everything is on display. So crass. 

I saw this a couple of months ago and agree with SusanR.  There were a number of moments which were unintentionally risible IMO.  It isn't a matter of being prudish but rather of taste. L'apres Midi is one of my favourite ballets and I find its sensuality completely appropriate.  Not so Victoria.  Also some of Victoria's steps made her seem rather comical.  I enjoyed some of the ballet but certainly wouldn't see it again, and was surprised at its having so many excellent reviews.

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Thank you Maryrose,

I was beginning to think I was in a minority on this subject! I really wanted to love this ballet, in fact, I was the first person to book when it became available for booking at my local cinema. However, I was so disappointed. I agree about the sensuality in L'apres Midi, but, in my opinion,  it is not appropriate in Victoria. Apparently, Victoria & Albert were crazy about each other so why couldn't Marston show that side of their relationship instead of the predictable sex?

58 minutes ago, jmhopton said:

The Preston Odeon printed off cast list/plot synopsis for us. However, the 2 gentlemen sitting next to me left in the interval saying it was 'absolute rubbish'.

The Cast list mentioned a website www.cinemalive.com who describe themselves as 'one of the world's leading producers and distributors of Premium Event Cinema'. They also list NB Dracula and other ballets by Australian Ballet including The Merry Widow and Spartacus as well as more pop based and also theatrical events.

12 hours ago, alison said:

People who were asking about casting: it's very difficult, simply because of the fact that so many dancers swap in and out of parts.  I think I was there for the performance which was filmed, and trying to reproduce the cast sheet would have been something of a nightmare (incidentally, I could wish they hadn't run the credits centrally, as they obscured the dancers who were taking their bows).  I was a little late to the cinema, so if there was any preliminary introduction I missed it.  I think someone provided a link to the synopsis in this thread, didn't they?  I know I certainly needed it.

 

 

I wondered if that was actually the point?  From everything I've

12 hours ago, alison said:

People who were asking about casting: it's very difficult, simply because of the fact that so many dancers swap in and out of parts.  I think I was there for the performance which was filmed, and trying to reproduce the cast sheet would have been something of a nightmare (incidentally, I could wish they hadn't run the credits centrally, as they obscured the dancers who were taking their bows).  I was a little late to the cinema, so if there was any preliminary introduction I missed it.  I think someone provided a link to the synopsis in this thread, didn't they?  I know I certainly needed it.

 

 

I wondered if that was actually the point?  From everything I've gathered, I believe Victoria was quite explicit (for Victorian times, at least!) in her diaries about sex, so I wonder if we were supposed to be experiencing something of what Beatrice felt which caused her to tear those pages out of the diary?

gathered, I believe Victoria was quite explicit (for Victorian times, at least!) in her diaries about sex, so I wonder if we were supposed to be experiencing something of what Beatrice felt which caused her to tear those pages out of the diary?

 

12 hours ago, alison said:

People who were asking about casting: it's very difficult, simply because of the fact that so many dancers swap in and out of parts.  I think I was there for the performance which was filmed, and trying to reproduce the cast sheet would have been something of a nightmare (incidentally, I could wish they hadn't run the credits centrally, as they obscured the dancers who were taking their bows).  I was a little late to the cinema, so if there was any preliminary introduction I missed it.  I think someone provided a link to the synopsis in this thread, didn't they?  I know I certainly needed it.

 

 

I wondered if that was actually the point?  From everything I've gathered, I believe Victoria was quite explicit (for Victorian times, at least!) in her diaries about sex, so I wonder if we were supposed to be experiencing something of what Beatrice felt which caused her to tear those pages out of the diary?

 

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4 hours ago, Pulcinella said:

 

I found the following cast sheet and synopsis on the Empire Cinemas website. It was obviously supplied for the screening so why the cinemas could’t have printed them off I don’t know.

 

https://www.empirecinemas.co.uk/_uploads/media/1862_The Northern Ballet - Victoria Handout.pdf

 

Indeed.  You'd think they could have made the effort, wouldn't you?  But clearly some chains/branches just can't be bothered.  And I guess there would probably have been more bums on seats if they'd put up a poster so that people visiting the cinema might at least get an idea that something was on, too.  Otherwise, how on earth are you expected to know?  Even if they get the weekly showings emails from the cinema, I wonder how many people bother looking at them in detail?

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On 26/06/2019 at 22:48, SusanR said:

I'm so sorry you found my comment about the pas de deux between Victoria & Albert so amusing Sharon! In my world, less is more. I would much rather see such moments in my imagination, but these days everything is on display. So crass. By the way, the name is Marston......

Thank you for pointing out my terrible typo - what can I say? Mistakes happen & I will have to double check before I post in future.

And please, don't be offended again if I wonder why a faun apparently masturbating on a nymphs clothing is so much more acceptable than Victoria & Albert's pdd? Is it because the former is a mythical story, about a creature not a man therefore not real - but the sexual relationship between Victoria & Albert was very real? In any case, my amusement in the comparison was not intended to hurt your feelings. 

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Having started to watch this on iPlayer following a recent broadcast on BBC4, as I recall, and been mesmerised at first, turning to confusion, boredom and 'not quite my thing' induced dissatisfaction, might I please ask more learned dancers and viewers, here, please:

 

How - if possible to categorise - would you class this style of ballet?  I obviously speak as a novice, very wet behind the ears beginner, but I'm principally curious or concerned - as to 'not quite my thingness' - about the to my mind very intrusive blending of what I'd term modern/street dance into ballet.  It all seemed rather too much freeform expression rather than the crisper, age-old, elegant true ballet as a layman might think of it.  Is that, therefore, a particular style of ballet, or just the way its heading in modern times?

 

I think my confusion arose from not being primed with a purchased theatre programme or some other online synopsis such that I quickly got lost as to the characters and story.

 

I think my boredom arose from, to my mind, the characters doing largely the same moves throughout ... just in different costumes.

 

I read a book once which said ballet conveys either a mood, emotion or interprets music.  No mention of conveying a 'story', in that book at least.  It seems perhaps a story should present itself in the minds of the audience based on the underlying mood, emotion and music.  For my naive untrained eye and ear I thought Victoria was too monotone (save for aforesaid costume changes) to give a sufficiently varied platform for any story to unfold.  But I'll give it another go after reading some plot summaries above! 

 

Edited by York UK beginner
spelling correction of "dissatisfaction"

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Have a look for the synopsis - I think it was on the NB website.  That might help (as would have watching the ITV serial!)

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Stylistically I would call it a narrative ballet.

 

I found the synopsis more of a hindrance than a help but I was fortunate enough to attend an event at NB's HQ where Cathy Marston spoke about her ideas for the ballet.  It is based around Victoria's daughter Beatrice editing her mother's diaries for "public consumption".

 

Act 1 covers the period from Beatrice (Victoria's youngest child) as a 4 year old to Victoria's death.

 

Act 2 covers the earlier diaries from Victoria becoming queen to the death of Albert.

 

IMO you only need to be able to recognise Victoria, Mature Beatrice, Young Beatrice, John Brown, Beatrice husband Liko and Albert.  The rest all other children, spouses of other children and politicians.  The ones in the bizarre red chiffon skirts are described as archivists.

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I need to read the synopsis and will, because it was certainly confusing, I could pick out John Brown and Albert but who was the blond haired young man in the red jacket, Beatrice's husband? I thought too much attention was given to Beatrice in general, and the scene of Victoria repeatedly giving birth looked odd, think she had even  more children than was shown? On initial viewing the pdd between John Brown and Victoria in the first act was the best, in fact I was very impressed with the young man and noticed he got a special cheer at the end :)

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4 minutes ago, Beryl H said:

I need to read the synopsis and will, because it was certainly confusing, I could pick out John Brown and Albert but who was the blond haired young man in the red jacket, Beatrice's husband? I thought too much attention was given to Beatrice in general, and the scene of Victoria repeatedly giving birth looked odd, think she had even  more children than was shown? On initial viewing the pdd between John Brown and Victoria in the first act was the best, in fact I was very impressed with the young man and noticed he got a special cheer at the end :)

 

Yes, it was Beatrice' husband Liko.

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Beryl:  Beatrice and her editing of her mother's diaries was Cathy's point of entry to construction of the ballet and she is central to the work.  On stage, she was very often somewhere to the side or rear, observing or reacting to the action as described in the diaries rather than at the front.  For example, you must have noticed her distaste at what she was reading in the John Brown scene, when she ripped pages from the diary and threw them to the floor.  In the film version, however, there were a number of closeup shots of her, presumably to emphasise the dramatic points being made and, in that regard, these reflect  the Director's choices made - often a matter for debate where filmed dance is concerned. 

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Well OK ... I should have been wrapping the Christmas presents I haven't wrapped yet but I decided to watch Victoria on the iPlayer instead!!

 

I thought it came over very well on film - the close-ups of some of the facial expressions were exquisite.  Although I had only seen Victoria from the front row in the theatres I noticed things in the film that I hadn't in the theatre and found watching it a very rewarding experience all over again.

 

What a tour-de-force from Pippa Moore as the mature Beatrice and what a gift it was for her to create this role in her final season dancing with NB.

 

(I still intensely disliked the three-quarter length sleeves on a lot of the male costumes and I still loathed the red chiffon skirts!)

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