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Northern Ballet - Nutcracker - Leeds - December 2012


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I was in Leeds yesterday to see a matinee of Northern Ballet's Nutcracker. It is a delightful production set in Regency England. As we have come to expect from NB the costumes, especially in the party scene, are ravishing.

 

Act 2 relates not to a Kingdom of Sweets but to places on the major trade routes of old. There is a giant tea-caddy like structure at the back of the stage.

 

With Northern Ballet we have come to expect fantastic acting as well as dancing and yesterday we were not disappointed. The front cloth is the outside of the house. As the overture starts we can see in through the windows and the maids are dusting as Mr Edwards keeps a beady eye on them. Darren Goldsmith is so expressive it brought the ballet to life right from the start! The overture led into a top notch performance.

 

Antoinette Brookes-Daw was an absolute delight as Clara. You could see that she was absolutely thrilled by everything to do with the preparations for Christmas; she had just the right amount of young girl on the verge of young womanhood that made her growing love for the living Nutcracker so believable. Her Nutcracker was Kevin Peoung and his performance could only be described as sensational. He and Antoinette are very well matched and I hope we will see more of them dancing together. Dreda Blow and Toby Batley as Sugar Plum and her Cavalier were wonderful together too. Dreda has beautifully elegant lines and Toby has a terrific stage presence and is a super-attentive partner. John Hull was a benevolent Uncle Drosselmeyerr.

 

The snowflakes, flowers and national dances were all beautifully done too, with the snowflakes being particularly crisp.

 

A cracking performance!

 

When we arrived at the theatre we were thrilled to see some members of the orchestra singing carols. It made the atmosphere really festive before we even got in to the auditorium.

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Review of the first night from The Public Review: http://www.thepublic...-theatre-leeds/

 

A brief review from the York Press: http://www.yorkpress..._Grand_Theatre/

 

Review of another cast from The Stage: http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/38035/the-nutcracker?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheStageReviews+%28The+Stage+%2F+Reviews%29

Edited by Janet McNulty
Edited to add link to The Stage review
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My final ballet-watching performance of 2012 was yesterday's matinee of Northern Ballet's Nutcracker. And what a way to end. It was a dazzling performance all round. The snowflakes were crisp and even (!) and sparkled as only real snow can in the sunlight. The flowers were soft and lush. The national dances danced with enthusiasm and verve. Victoria Sibson, Nicola Gervasi and Matthew Topliss were particularly wonderful in the Spanish.

 

The cast was led by Pippa Moore as Clara and Giuliano Contadini as her Nutcracker. Pippa gives such a beautifully nuanced performance and danced beautifully. Giuliano was every inch the romantic soldier. Martha Leebolt and Javier Torres were Sugar Plum and her Cavalier and were totally enthralling.

 

Ayana Kanda is retiring from Northern Ballet at the end of this run. It has always been a delight to watch her performances, she has such a lovely warm stage presence. I am so glad that I saw her debut as Madame Butterfly in Sheffield this Autumn. It was one of the finest performances of that role I have seen in the 10 years that Northern Ballet have been performing the work. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ayana for all her performances I have enjoyed and to send her and Yi Song very best wishes for the future.

 

NB have one final performance to give this afternoon before the company has a very well earned break. Thanks to everyone at NB for a fantastic year of performances. Roll on 2013 and Gatsby!

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