wed 29/07/2015

fairytales

Cinderella, Wheeldon, London Coliseum

Christopher Wheeldon is the purveyor of pretty. You can perfectly well see why San Francisco Ballet, who commissioned a new full-length work from Wheeldon in 2012, got cold feet at the prospect of tackling the difficult, Britten-scored Prince of the...

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Richard Dadd: The Art of Bedlam, Watts Gallery

The Watts Gallery in rural Surrey is a very genteel setting for a show by a figure who for most of his life was denied polite society. Richard Dadd spent 42 years in mental hospitals, first at Bethlem, then Broadmoor.  As one can infer, he was...

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Grayson Perry: Provincial Punk, Turner Contemporary

Imagine if broadcasters thought the only living pop star worth giving air time to was Lady Gaga. Imagine – the horror. It would be wall-to-wall Gaga for the foreseeable future. And then imagine if the only living contemporary artist commissioning...

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Swanhunter, Opera North, Linbury Studio Theatre

There was a moment half-way through Jonathan Dove’s children’s opera Swanhunter when I suddenly realised why pantomime developed its convention of the principal boy. Having a grown man prancing and posturing boyishly for the entertainment of a room...

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Cinderella

Lushly produced to within an inch of its pictorially ripe life, the new Disney/Kenneth Branagh live-action Cinderella couples swoony imagery with a cloying message about compassion. But all its pro forma qualities fall away as and when Cate...

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First Person: The Meaning of Mermaids

As a child I was bewitched by the tale of The Little Mermaid. I had it on a record and would play it and sit and sob on the settee, much to the bewilderment of my brothers. It wasn’t until years later that I found myself wondering what it was about...

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Die Zauberflöte, Royal Opera

Mozart’s The Magic Flute is one of those operas, like Verdi’s Il trovatore and all the mature Wagner masterpieces, which need a line-up of equally fine singers but rarely get it in the compromised world of the opera house. With Christiane Karg and...

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Hansel and Gretel, Welsh National Opera

After 16 years one might expect a revival of a repertory opera like Hansel and Gretel to come up with a dusty look and frayed edges. But Benjamin Davis has done a brilliant job pumping the life back into Richard Jones’s memorable but intricate 1998...

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Swan Lake, Royal Ballet

Is there an art-form more tied to bad as well as good tradition than classical ballet? Yolanda Sonnabend’s unatmospherically if expensively kitsch designs for this Swan Lake wouldn’t have lasted more than a season or two in the worlds of theatre and...

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The Nutcracker, Scottish Ballet, Edinburgh Festival Theatre

Every Nutcracker has its day, and every day has its Nutcracker. But sometimes history repeats itself, and so it was that I found myself last night in Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre, scene of my own childhood encounters with ballet, preparing to watch...

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Edward Scissorhands, New Adventures, Sadler's Wells

For those who’ve seen one too many Nutcrackers, nothing says Christmas better than a Matthew Bourne production at Sadler’s Wells. A man whose mantelpiece is overflowing with Tony and Olivier awards is a safe bet for entertainrment – even when...

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Cinderella, New Wimbledon Theatre

Strange world, isn’t it? Yesterday morning, buoyed up by the Royal Opera’s impressive Tristan und Isolde, I was listening on CD to Linda Esther Gray, a Wagnerian soprano for the ages, singing the best Liebstod I know. In the evening, I was watching...

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