tue 21/05/2024

Sadler's Wells

Carmen, English National Ballet review - lots of energy, even violence, but nothing new to say

The story of Carmen is catnip to choreographers. No matter how many times this 180-year-old narrative has been tweaked and reframed in art, theatre, opera, dance and film, they keep coming back for more – which is curious when you consider that...

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First Person: Ten Years On - Flamenco guitarist Paco Peña pays tribute to his friend, the late, great Paco de Lucía

There are moments that forever remain imprinted in our consciousness, engraved on the general map of our lives. I cannot forget the excitement of seeing snow for the first time in Córdoba, aged three or four, rushing to walk on it only to slip...

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Nelken: A Piece by Pina Bausch, Sadler's Wells review - welcome return for an indelible classic

Perhaps the most memorable of the stage designs Peter Pabst created for Pina Bausch is back in London after nearly 20 years: a sea of erect pink silk carnations, the Nelken of the title. It’s canonical that there are 8,000 of them, but only the...

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La Strada, Sadler's Wells review - a long and bumpy road

Federico Fellini’s 1954 classic La Strada ought to be a gift to a choreographer. The film has pathos, good and evil, a bewitchingly gamine heroine, and incidental music by the great Nino Rota, a composer who can find melancholy in the music of...

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First Person: pioneering juggler Sean Gandini reflects on how the spirit of Pina Bausch has infiltrated his work

I am a juggler. My wife Kati Ylä-Hokkala is also a juggler. Our life for the last three decades has been juggling. We have been fortunate to be practising this art form at a time when mathematical and creative developments meant that our vocabulary...

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Edward Scissorhands, Sadler's Wells review - a true Christmas treat, witty and beguiling

The story of Edward Scissorhands may not seem an obvious Christmas subject, but it couldn’t be a more overt call for goodwill to all men. And there’s a hint of The Nutcracker about Matthew Bourne’s dance version, too.Created in 2005 and last seen in...

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The Yellow Wallpaper, Lilian Baylis Studio review - a tense and intimate monodrama

What a difference a few years make. In 2019 I reviewed composer Dani Howard’s first opera, Robin Hood, also produced by The Opera Story, and commented on the fundraising success that enabled a cast of six and an ensemble of 10.Fast forward through...

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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Sadler's Wells review - exhilarating display of a full deck of dance styles

A big welcome awaited the Alvin Ailey dancers at the Wells, on their first international tour since lockdown. The company has scheduled four different mixed bills over 10 days, each with its signature piece, Revelations, as the finale. This is a...

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Matthew Bourne's Romeo + Juliet, Sadler's Wells review - exhilarating dancing, inventive moves

Matthew Bourne regularly revamps the first version of a new piece so that by the second go-round it really zings. For the return of his 2019 Romeo + Juliet, though, very little has changed, yet it feels refreshed.Dramaturgically, it’s still a bit...

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Ballet Flamenco Sara Baras, Sadler's Wells - a roaring start to the Flamenco Festival

When flamenco first came out of the shadows and started to fill big theatres, it was like something out of a historical pageant. The shows that played London in the early 1990s harked back to an imagined gypsy past where old men hammered rhythms on...

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42nd Street, Sadler's Wells review - musical extravaganza will knock your socks off

There are better musicals in town, but can you find me a more spectacular show in a more comfortable theatre? I doubt it. Not that Jonathan Church's new production at Sadler's Wells is flawless. It's a 90-year-old blockbuster so, for all its...

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Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT1), Sadler's Wells review - an extinction rebellion in dance

The timing was impeccable, though almost certainly accidental. As protesters lay prostrate in The Mall in a mass “die-in” on the day designated as Earth Day, and as many thousands more urged action against climate change outside the Houses of...

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