4-7 March 2015
Reviewed by Ann Durrell
Coppelia is both a love story and a comedy. Dr Coppelius is an eccentric scientist and doll maker. He has built a doll who he yearns to bring to life and he is thrilled when some of the villagers see his doll and believe her too be real. Swanilda and Franz are sweethearts, however when Franz spots Coppelius’s doll reading on the balcony his head is turned and he is smitten, much to the annoyance of Swanlida who he then ignores. When Swanilda discovers that they have been tricked she decides to play a trick on both the Dr and her betrothed by pretending to be the doll who has come to life. As with any good fairy-tale there is a happy ending at a fete held in the grounds of the Duke’s mansion where our heroes come together declaring their love and the Dr forgives Swanilda for her trick, whilst seemingly also being compensated by the Duke.
From the moment the curtain went up I was hooked, everything about this performance of Coppelia by the Birmingham Royal Ballet was outstanding. The stage setting in each of the acts was spectacular, particularly in act 1 where you were transported into a fairy-tale village deep in a forest in a faraway land miles away from your theatre seat. The dancing was excellent, Swanlida (Elisha White) had the audience captivated with movements so fluid she seemed to glide across the stage. Chi Cao as Franz was also superb, his footwork and jumps had our eyes glued to the stage. During the final act at the Festival of the Bell we saw some really really amazing dances, whilst Prayer was danced by Delia Matthews I heard actual gasps from the people sitting behind me and ‘oh my gosh’ exclaimed. William Bracewell during Call to Arms was another stand out piece for me with some really stunning turns.
The choreography and production throughout will be hard to beat, I really could not find fault with it at all, the perfect mix of formal with a hint of comedy made this a thoroughly enjoyable production.
Tickets cost from £14 to £43 (includes £2 booking fee).
The Birmingham Royal Ballet presents Coppelia is at The Lowry in Manchester until 7 March 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000