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Book the show *and* the private lounge bar! (Oxford)

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I went to see the English National Ballet dance Coppelia at the New Theatre, Oxford on Tuesday night with my mum, and just loved it. I’m no ballet expert – I was the original elephant who flunked out after Grade 1 – but I love the combination of music, costume, dance and theatre.

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For this performance there was a full orchestra which makes a massive difference to me because I love peering into the orchestral pit, and it was made even better by the strange fluke I knew one of the violinists (hello Daniel!). Tamara Rojo, creative director of the ENB, took the title role along with Yonah (nephew of Carlos) Acosta, and they were both incredible – not only technically (according to my mother who knows such things), but also their acting and the humour made a real difference to the performance and ballet. (NB Other dancers take the roles for subsequent performances so don’t book expecting a Rojo/Acosta reprise!).

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My mum has also ordered me to say that the corps de ballet was excellent, and certainly the whole thing romped along with two intervals (which I rather liked) while the immense sets were changed.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some utterly glorious snigger moments in the last act when the male ballet dancers came out wearing nude tights – well it’s TRUE!! – sometimes standing with their beefy bums straight to the audience, making it look like they were dancing half nuddy. Even my mum, quite the ballet purist, started shaking with laughter at that point. Nothing like six pairs of buttocks to liven up a Muddy evening. No photos I can show you but they’re totally clocked in the memory.

Anyway….. the ballet continues until Saturday and today (Thurs) there’s a matinee, so plenty of chances to still see it (and them) for yourselves.

Whether you see next see Coppelia or from next week The Full Monty at the New Theatre, it’s worth knowing that a rather swanky for-hire Ambassador Lounge has opened there. Here are a few pics I took from the other night – swish, no?

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As you can see it’s all tasteful and well lit and rather chic for a theatre bar, and basically you can hire it for £15 per person – for that you get a free glass of prosecco (or a soft drink for the kids), nibbles, your coats neatly put away for you, and your drinks pre-ordered and waiting for the next interval. And of course, no sweaty, pushy, crowds. *bliss*

I think particularly for a weekend or packed performance, or with kids who run the risk of getting knocked about in the crowds, it’s a great option. Also for presents – if you buy some tickets to a show, you can just add this on as a little extra luxury. My mum was virtually chomping at the bit to give it a go, and I can definitely see the allure of it too. Anyway, it’s worth checking it out next time you’re at the theatre – just peer quickly through the curtain, it’s a bit like staring from steerage through to business class!

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