sat 30/04/2016

fairytales

Cinderella, Scottish Ballet, Edinburgh Festival Theatre

When producing Cinderella, the main question is: sweet or sour?  That Prokofiev score is splendid, but it's no walk in a candy shop; in Act I the stepsisters have passages so scraping, spiky and dissonant that sugar-coating would seem to be out...

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Nutcracker, English National Ballet, London Coliseum

Christmas legends are not born; they are made. In the case of the Nutcracker, its Christmas indispensability in Britain and America stems not from the original 1892 St Petersburg production, but from 1950s reinterpretations by emigré Russians (...

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The Little Match Girl, Lilian Baylis Studio Theatre

I habitually skipped over Hans Christian Andersen's Little Match Girl in my childhood fairy tale compendium because I couldn't bear the sadness (see also: The Happy Prince *sob*). Parents of sensitive children will therefore be relieved to know that...

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RLPO, Petrenko, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool

Why play a very substantial act of ballet music in concert? In the case of Aurora’s wedding entertainment from Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty, there are at least three good reasons. It embraces the most inventive and unorthodox of divertissements...

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Jessica Jones, Netflix

After the roaring success of Daredevil this year, Marvel brings us the next instalment in the TV rendering of their universe – or part of it at least. Jessica Jones, created by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Gaydos in 2001, is a...

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Raven Girl/Connectome, Royal Ballet

Wayne McGregor wasn't anyone's idea of a ballet man when he was appointed choreographer in residence at the Royal Ballet in 2007. Before then, and since, his work has been abstract, spiky, verging on dysmorphic. His interest lay not in human stories...

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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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