(Image courtesy of northernballet.com)
There isn’t much that I’m a virgin at, that is apart from eating hamster and jumping out of a plane etc etc but more dramatically, going to the ballet which I have been DYING to attend for years. I got my wish this Wednesday when I travelled all the way to Kent to see the Northern Ballet do Beauty and the Beast and by eck it was worth the wait.
Initially I was disappointed that people weren’t quite as dressed up as I was expecting but hey, once the hyperventilating had stopped I strapped myself to my bright orange seat and prepared to have a fully open mind. I’m used to the theatre, I mean I work in one six days a week but that particular show is a musical and a whole other kettle of fish. To me, the ballet and the opera for that matter are still special and even elitist - this is a term I do not like to use but when it comes to the arts when pretty much everything nowadays is a free for all and just too accessible it is an absolute joy to go to something less mainstream. So even as the orchestra started and the lights dimmed I felt myself been transported to a world I had long craved for.
For starters, the dancing was just phenomenal. I’ve seen some ballet before, albeit not a whole show centred around it (mostly my flatmate trying to teach me some moves in our living room and watching Centre Stage) but this was truly magical and truly another league in the world of dance. The ensemble and particularly Beauty’s sisters (yes the story is different to the Disney version, i.e. no Gaston and no talking teapots!!!) were captivating and even funny. Actually the whole show had elements of humour which I was not expecting. A scene which saw her spoilt sisters, Isabelle and Chantelle played by Michela Paolacci and Jessica Morgan enter the stage with bags upon bags of shopping and the scenes post this which saw them stripped of their garish costumes brought a rumble of laughter from the whole auditorium. Stand-outs for me, however were the leads, Beauty (Pippa Moore) and The Beast (Benjamin Mitchell) - particularly the latter. When they danced together they were magnificent and some of the lifts really took my breath away, however The Beast literally floated around on the stage, which was a mean feat considering the role he was playing and I found myself captivated for the entire duration he was performing.
I love the Ballet and I wish I was in a position to go and see more. In saying that, London is really the only place that expects you to pay insufferable prices and The Marlowe was actually very reasonable. I would definitely see Northern Ballet again and thank them for making my first experience such a great one. I’m also incredibly jealous that I am not a dancer and hate you all a little bit. Cheers!