Sunday, 21 December 2014

Not too sure about Fairies but I certainly believe in Rachael Gillespie

Northern Ballet, Peter Pan, The Grand, Leeds 20 Dec 2014

Rachael Gillespie is one of the dancers who lift my spirits after a hard week. She seems to love to dance and her joy is infectious. Watching her perform is almost like participating in the dance. Tonight she was Tinkerbell and she was lovely.  Having seen J M Barrie's play as a child I remember being exhorted to believe in fairies to save brave Tinkerbell. I wondered how David Nixon would translate that moment into ballet. The answer was a voice off stage: "I believe in fairies". It was followed by another and then another. Jeremy Curnier asked "Do you believe in fairies?" adding "Tinkerbell will live if you do".  "Yes" roared the crowd followed by thunderous applause that shook the auditorium. Up sprang dear Rachael with her winning smile. Corny, I know, but great theatre.

Rachael Gillespie was not the only star last night. There was of course Peter danced magnificently by Curnier. Antoinette Brooks-Daw was a natural Wendy. Javier Torres made a splendid Captain Hook. Wicked and devious but also gallant and flamboyant to the end. Did he really have to walk the plank into the jaws of Sean Bates, the ticking crocodile? Also delightful was Lucia Solari as the Neverbird. I admired Torres and Solari in Cinderella when I saw them in Sheffield last month (Cinderella - even better 30 Nov 2014) and at The Grand last boxing day (Northern Ballet's Cinderella - a Triumph! 27 Dec 2013). They are developing into a really strong partnership of which we enjoyed glimpses when they doubled as Mr and Mrs Darling. All danced well - the Lost Boys, Mermaids, Pirates, everybody - and it would be unfair to single any of them out for special praise.

Nonetheless, I must say a word for Dominique Larose who danced Nana. Having seen Ballet Black's Dogs Don't Do Ballet (Woof 12 Oct 2014) I doubted that any dancer could dance a dog as well as that company. But Larose's Nana was as canine as Cira Robinson's Bif. I only wish that Vlad the Lad could have been in Leeds last night. I loved all the animals. As I said in my review of Cinderella, if Northern Ballet can do bears not to mention birds, dogs and crocodiles - so well surely one solitary bear was not beyond the Royal Ballet.

To my great delight Nixon followed the Barrie play very closely (see the scenario). Stephen Warbeck's score fitted the story perfectly and afforded ample scope for Nixon's ingenious choreography. You can hear some of the music if you have or can download Spotify. Peter Mumford's sets and lighting and Kim Brassley's costumes were magnificent as you can see from the photos.

Yesterday was a splendid evening and just what I needed after a trying fee days.

Post Script

The splendid performance of Peter Pan by Northern Ballet at The Grand on Saturday reminded me that the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 contains a provision that creates a special intellectual property right akin to copyright for the benefit of Great Ormond Street Hospital ("GOSH") for sick children. In have explored the legislative history of the special IP right and its features in GOSH - a special IPR that never grows old 22 Dec 2014 IP Yorkshire.

Leeds also has a children's hospital which appeals for funds and as you can see from the Northern Ballet website, Peter (also known as Gavin McCaig) and Tinkerbell (Alison Bayston) paid it a visit on 16 Dec 2014.

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