EntertainmentOpera & Ballet

English National Ballet Coppelia at the New Theatre Oxford Review

English National Ballet
New Theatre, Oxford

28 October to 1 November 2014


Reviewed by Helen Jiggins

Confession time… I have four sons and just one daughter. I may be just a little bit tired of Ninja Turtles, Lego, Thomas the (flipping) Tank Engine etc…, and when I was offered a ballet to review, one of my very first thoughts was oooooh, I have a daughter! OK, she is only 4 years old, but I was determined to take her! Despite the fact that it was an evening performance and she would likely be tired by 7.30pm when it began, never mind how she might cope several hours in…

My daughter was transfixed from the start. The experience was magical. The set was utterly beautiful – think German Christmas design, roses, muted, but attractive colours, reds, dark greens, oranges, blues – just glorious and oh-so-lavish, as one would expect from the English National Ballet. Then there were the costumes, full-skirts in similar colours enhancing the lovely dance routines – fitting and extravagant at the same time!

Above all, I was struck by the humour and this triumph has to be the responsibility of the choreographers Ronald Hynd and Marius Petipa. Ballet as a narrative through the medium of dance was very well interpreted in this production.

The existence of the orchestra of the English National Ballet in front of the stage was phenomenal. Being able to see and hear the musicians in the pit enhanced the overall performance, as live music often does. In this way, the overall experience was a sensory overload of sound, visual pleasure and considerable physical skill from the dancers. The pointwork of Alina Cojocaru was light and effortless. The humour and skill of Yonah Acosta added an extra dimension to the performance.

My daughter snuggled up towards the end of Act 2 and drifted off. She is only 4 years old. My ambition for her to sit through and enjoy an entire evening-ballet performance may have been ambitious in itself, but I was desperate for a little girl-time! Anyway, she did fall asleep and I took her home, wheeling her in a borrowed pushchair, just before the end. Maybe next year, I will get to see the finale with my daughter? A proper girl’s night out! Can’t recommend it enough!

Rating: 5/5 thumbs_up

Tickets cost from £11.90 to £43.90 (plus £4 transaction fee).

The English National Ballet’s Coppelia is at the New Theatre Oxford until 1 November 2014. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 871 3020.

New Theatre Oxford, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2AG | 0844 871 3020


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