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Northern Ballet - Beauty and the Beast - Autumn 2012


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I was in Bradford on Saturday to see 2 performances of David Nixon's production of Beauty and the Beast. This production premiered last December and has been touring extensively since then.

 

I had forgotten just how much I enjoyed this production. The set is dark but the lighting is so well designed that you can always see the dancers clearly. The costumes are a ravishing pastiche of the 1950s and are just gorgeous. The production has all the elements we would expect from the story. There are 2 fairies whom I would describe as good and bad-tempered.

 

There is so much to enjoy. I love the scene when the debt collectors come to Beauty's home. It is very witty. There is a beautiful "dream" duet for Beauty and the Prince in Act 1. Michela Paolacci and John Hull were so sublime together at the evening performance that I was moved to tears. I also find the start of act 2 very moving when the Beast is imagining himself as he was and there is a trio for Beast, Prince and Beauty.

 

The two Beasts I saw, Ben Mitchell and Hiranao Takahashi, were very different from each other but equally wonderful.

 

David Nixon has just the right amount of comedy and tragedy in this production. It is satisfying on so many levels for both adults and childred. I must say that the many children at both performances were impeccably behaved and obviously entranced by the production.

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Just back - what a wonderful evening.

 

Lovely to see ex-Elm Ben Mitchell as the Beast - definitely a hit with my nearly 18 year old daughter ;) and Pippa Moore was a gorgeous Beauty.

 

I loved the costumes (in the main - I didn't think the "bad" fairy's quite worked in with the rest of the them) and some of the imaginative use of the set - especially the back of the removal lorry. Wonderful acting from Beauty's two sisters (sorry I can't name them - wish we'd had a cast list!). And the well known music worked for me - music plays a big part in my enjoyment of a ballet, and I was disappointed with BRB's Beauty for that reason.

 

There were a couple of lovely pdd with Beauty and the Beast, and I particularly enjoyed the trio with the Prince too. I was a little disappointed with a rather "naff" section where the manservant and the two fairies were running around the stage - but I'll let them off that small section!!

 

The highlight of the evening for me, from a personal perspective, was seeing two of my son's school friends dancing as professionals at last. Isaac Lee-Baker and Joseph Taylor - you fitted right in - and we forgot to watch most of the wedding scene because we were too busy watching Joe. I felt like a proud parent :)

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I went to Woking to see yesterday's matinee.

 

We were so lucky to witness Kevin Poeung (1st year Corps de ballet) 's role debut as The Beast.

It was just astonishing!!

He has amazing physical abilities with true star quality,

Moved by his expressive acting,too!

 

Kevin is due to make his 2nd Beast appearance on Saturday evening! (03/11 Eve)

 

Worth going down to Woking to see it!

 

Ryo

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I wasn't as keen on this as I was on David Bintley's production for BRB. It had more of a pantomime feel about it. There's nothing wrong with that; it's just not to my taste. I found it hard to engage with The Beast character. He was very much portrayed as an animal rather than as a man with a hideous appearance. He did lots of climbing and throwing himself about and had less real (ballet) dancing to do. The Prince appeared in a couple of dream sequences before he and Beauty were united at the end and the most attractive pdds were reserved for them rather than for Beauty and The Beast. Somehow The Beast, who should have been the main character, was slightly sidelined by the Prince. Tobias Batley made a handsome (and very tall) Prince and Pippa Moore was very convincing as Beauty. I wasn't keen on some of the sets (the green and black "crazy paving" design did not appeal) and costumes, which were quite a mixture of styles and periods. However, I loved the huge rose in which Beauty is seen sleeping at the beginning of Act 2. The ballet had wit and moments of comedy but I felt that the choreography was a little dull. I was not moved by The Beast's plight, probably because of the way in which he was portrayed, and, for me, some magic and psychological depth were missing from this production.

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This view of NB's Beauty and the Beast from Neil Norman in the Daily Express has already been posted in links but I'm re-posting too:

 

"IN CONTRAST to David Bintley’s grand, gothic romantic version for Birmingham Royal Ballet, David Nixon’s more recent production is a nimble, fleet-footed caper that touches on pantomime without wallowing in it."

 

http://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/view/355726/Dance-Review-Beauty-and-the-Beast

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Hi Janet,

 

Thank you so much for the video & link!

I heard Kevin Poeung will perform The Nutcracker and many other soloists roles in Leeds in December.

I am sure you have many opportunities to see him next month. (I am not sure whether I will be able to see many shows in Leeds...)

 

Hi Aileen, Janet & others,

 

I saw NB's Beauty and the Beast for the 1st time on last Thursday afternoon.

I have been watching BRB version many times since it's World Premier.

I like both Bintley & Nixon versions.

 

1 male lead dancer perform both The Prince & The Beast for BRB version.

In NB's Nixon version 1 male lead performs the Prince and other performs The Beast.

 

Bintley version (BRB) The Beast has a mask therefore the audience can not see The Beast's facial expression.

Nixon version, The audience can enjoy both facial and physical expression by The Beast.

 

I absolutely adore NB's Beauty & The Beast's sets and costumes!

 

It is very interesting we can see 2 very different Puroductions of Beauty & The Beast by 2 UK Ballet Companies.

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Ryo, I agree that it is interesting to see two different productions based on the same story. We're very lucky that BRB, NB and ENB all tour extensively so that there are opportunities to see them at a venue not too far from where we live.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wasn't Isaac dancing with the RB last season, or am I confusing him with someone else double-barrelled?

 

He was at the RBS and graduated in July, so you could've seen him in the school show, or as a student, but probably not named on an RB cast sheet! Maybe someone else...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I made it to Bath and had serious parking traumas! I did, however, make it to the theatre in time for the matinee.

 

I think people will have already realised that I very much enjoy this production! I very much enjoyed the 2 performances I saw on Thursday!

 

At the matinee we saw Hiro Takahashi (who has recently celebrated his 21st anniversary with the company) as the Beast with Michela Paolacci and Javier Torres and Beauty and the Prince. They were wonderful together. Jessica Morgan was outstanding as the bad-tempered fairy - I really would not like to cross her!

 

In the evening, I finally got to see Giuliano Conatadini as the Beast with Martha Leebolt and Kenneth Tindall. It was an outstanding performance all round. Giuliano really brought out the simian movement of the Beast but also brought out all the pathos of the role. As ever, Martha Leebolt and Kenny Tindall inhabited their roles, making them breath-takingly believable.

Edited by Janet McNulty
Edited to remove duplicated sentence
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