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Northern Ballet Dracula in Cinemas and on Stage - Autumn 2019

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Did anyone else get to see Dracula in their local cinema this evening?  Wasn't it wonderful?

 

Although we are lucky enough to live close enough to Leeds to see Northern Ballet regularly, it was perfect on a work night to be able to stay close to home and see it in our wonderful local independent cinema with a mug of tea in hand.

 

I really hope there will be many more live broadcasts by Northern Ballet.

Edited by glowlight
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Yes, yes, yes! It was so intense that we are still shell shocked from it. Great dancing and characterisation plus a spine chilling reaction of the story. Bravo, Northern Ballet! I echo the hope that more of the company’s work will be shown in the cinema.

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Drat!  I'd forgotten about it until last night, and meant to mention it here this morning.  I'd have liked to have seen it, but I can't be in two places at once :( 

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That “reaction” is supposed to read “re-enactment” but of course Autocorrect always knows best. 

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I saw it too, a really wonderful performance and perfect for Halloween! Every time I see Northern Ballet it makes me feel I should make the effort to see them more often! I'm lucky that they visit Cardiff every year, but perhaps I should venture further afield to catch more of their productions!

 

As a side note, the quality of the relay both last night and for the Bolshoi Raymonda (which I saw at a different cinema) seemed much better than I've seen at other cinema relays. Maybe there's been a recent improvement in technology?

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I would love to see their version of “The Great Gatsby”. I know it was very successful and that Jan M loved it. More cinema casts, please! 

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Was it actually a live broadcast, or recorded?

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Well, hopefully there'll be a DVD, or a TV transmission - or both.

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The highlight for me was all the stunning pas de deuxs... The Act 2 one between Dracula and Mina is now on my dream dancing list 💕

 

And Renfield was Amazing! Definitely a future principal dancer.

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I’m still hugging myself in pleasure, ArucariaBallerina. I loved Lucy too. 

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What a terrific performance. I didn’t know what to expect but it way exceeded anything I imagined. Such wonderful dramatic interpretation, so lovely nuances to the choreography and marvellous staging. Loved the costumes (wow the use of that cape), a remarkable score and what a company of dancers. I am hooked and can’t wait for another Northern ballet fix.

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I was really wanting to go to this.... but had to do family duty.... which involved the most deathly (& not in ‘wow this is spooky good Halloween fun’ deathly.... just so boring & bask) pub quiz..... I could’ve wept when I thought what better use of my time watching wonderful Northern Ballet! Have scoured cinema timetables you see if there is an ‘encore’ showing, but sadly not found one... anyone know of any planned? 

Edited by Peanut68
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I seem to be in a real minority (of 1) here, I really didn't enjoy it. The opening scene was astounding but thereafter it just didn't grab me at all. I was expecting to love it. I felt it bordered on the ham acting many times. I think cinematic close ups are to blame for this. From a distance I'm sure it all seems balanced but a facial close up distracted. I found the cape an irritant especially when he nearly tripped up. Very unusually for me I actually went home at the interval. I also had a slight cough and I always feel worried if I'm irritating folks though I don't think I did. 

As said I was expecting to love it. Their 3 Musketeers is one of my favourites. Maybe not feeling top notch coloured my view of Dracula but just didn't enjoy. 

Edited to add I wasn't keen on the music either.

Edited by Julie 2 Milner
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What a shame you didn't enjoy it Julie, but if we all liked the same things the world would be very dull.  

 

I have to agree that sometimes I felt the close ups distracted from being able to see the whole dance, but it must be very difficult to strike the balance on a live broadcast.  

 

Hope you feel better soon.

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@Julie 2 Milner I must say that I think Act 2 was much better than Act 1. I thought some of the Old Dracula choreography was a bit too much - too much mouth touching and stroking - I thought maybe it would have been creepier with a more seductive Dracula who was not revealed to be a vampire until later. I also thought some of Lucy and Mina's duet, the Dracula's Brides and the dances with the 4 vampire hunters was a bit off - just didn't flow. But I think it may have just been a completely different style to what I'm used to (very classical!) and it was quite contemporary. But most of it I really liked. :) 

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On 02/11/2019 at 11:24, Julie 2 Milner said:

The opening scene was astounding

 

Strange how we see things differently as I didn't like the opening scene at all! It is totally against the book to have Dracula as a grotesque. He invites Jonathan Harker to his castle to finalise a deal on a house purchase and intends to pass himself of as a Victorian gentleman (at least on a superficial level) so this is just not appropriate. I also found myself remembering bits of the Christopher Gable version which I thought in many ways superior; much closer to the book and both creepy and sensuous without being OTT. Also the memory of the amazing Jeremy Kerridge (one of the finest dance/actors I've ever seen) as a tortured but never grotesque Renfield is unforgettable. The final scene in the graveyard when all these grey objects came alive really cruddled my spine and I loved the Whitby scenes (ignored in this new version). Having said that there was plenty to admire in this version. the pas de deux were stunning and very Macmillanish I thought. the dancing and acting was of a high quality and the atmosphere very Gothic. I wouldn't mind seeing it again but don't know whether I'd want to see it a lot.

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On 06/11/2019 at 12:53, jmhopton said:

 

Strange how we see things differently as I didn't like the opening scene at all! It is totally against the book to have Dracula as a grotesque. 

I'd completely agree re the book. I simply meant as a piece of theatre. I tried hard not to "compare" with the book. I'm one of these strange people who really don't like costume drama of books I've read, so never watch on TV. The characters never look how I've imagined them etc.

To a certain extent this was true of NB's Dracula. I suspect I always envision Dracula as more Vincent Price/ Christopher Lee etc; a tall elegant figure. 

I now have an urge to re-read "Dracula"...

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I went onto YouTube to watch some Christopher Lee clips yesterday because it was the anniversary of Bram Stoker’s birthday. Lee was such a good actor. 

Edited by Fiz
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I didn't see Dracula at the cinema but did catch 7 performances between Canterbury and Leeds (yes, I know I am greedy!) including the one broadcast to cinemas on 31 October.

 

David Nixon has done a number of tweaks to the production for this revival and I think they work.  The most obvious change is to the opening scenes with the introduction of the "Old Dracula".  While I agree with Joan that his appearance does not match that of the book I think as a device that it works really well.  I remember from the book how nervous Harker felt and how weird it was that he only saw Dracula (until his brides appeared) and how he thought he recognised the rejuvenated Dracula on the streets of London.  For me, as a piece of theatre, it worked extremely well.  Even after 7 performances I still didn't see the dancers changing place!!  I obviously realised that it was the cloak-ography but it was done so slickly it remained really spooky!

 

I have never seen David Nixon's production as a straight re-telling of the story - it is more cerebral and about the feelings than that.    The story is told through a series of episodes from the book.  I love the way you can see how Mina is both attracted to and repulsed by him.

 

There were three casts on show during this brief run:

 

Javier Torres/Abigail Prudames/Antoinette Brooks-Daw

Mlindi Kulashe/Minju Kang/Rachael Gillespie

Riku Ito/Ayami Miyata/Sarah Chun

 

I thought all three casts were superb and all three brought a different element to the characterisations.  Javier Torres was the only dancer who had performed the eponymous role before. 

 

Javier could not understand his feelings towards Mina and to me his puzzlement at his reluctance to bite Mina was very obvious.  Mlindi managed to be both terrifying and romantic.  Riku was bloodlust all the way till his duet with Mina.

 

I very much enjoyed all the performances I saw but I have to highlight the Saturday afternoon in Leeds - Javier's cast - which was very special indeed.  I was so wrapped up in it that I kept forgetting to breathe!

 

I must also mention Rachael Gillespie's performance as Lucy Westenra - she was a total wildcat when she had become a Vampire.  She also looked as though she was enjoying herself far too much as one of the brides!

 

I do hope the streamed version is released on DVD and that this production is not back in its coffin for too long!

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Thanks for your lovely review, Janet.  

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