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I missed Northern Ballet’s Beauty and the Beast on Tuesday but finally managed to see it tonight. My initial thought was that I’d probably just tweet a few sentences about it, but honestly it was so great it deserves to a proper write up.
I’ve seen a lot of ballets through Muddy Stilettos and I’d say this is the best one by far. Never mind that the live orchestra was out of step on a couple of occasions or that the crowd-pleasing music was like a Classic FM on random (though I rather liked it in a strange way – all the hits from Debussy to Saint Saens, Bizet and Poulenc).
What struck me initially was that acting was really superb in this ballet. I was (*sniff*) rather moved on several occasions. Bad acting can kill a ballet dead but these guys really sold the story. And the dancing was excellent – no dancers here put out quietly to pasture but a proper male contingent and a real hottie, Cuban Javier Torres, as the vain Prince (sorry to lower the tone, but girls, you know this stuff matters) and a lovely innocent elegance to Beauty.
Costumes were fab, the set was simple but effective (loved the white flower petals that beauty slept in, above), the choreography felt contemporary and engaging and there was quite a bit of humour too. It’s a fabulous ballet to take young guests to, as it was only 2 hours all-up, including the interval (there’s a matinee on Saturday). Under fives might be scared by the beast though and there’s a lot of DRAMATIC ORGAN MUSIC!!!! as he writhes with pain and self-loathing so use your discretion.
Regardless of the children issue, if you’re a fair-weather dance fan like me with a tendency to get bored with more traditional choreography, or perhaps just curious to see your first ballet, go and see this one. Trust me, you’ll love it.
Beauty and the Beast, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, until 17 November, £15-34. Book tickets.