TWO VIEWS OF A BALLET FOR CHILDREN
Angelina Ballerina's Big Audition
CHOREOGRAPHY Antony Dowson
MUSIC ARRANGEMENT Gavin Sutherland
SET DESIGN Al Riches
COSTUME DESIGN Wizzy Shawyer
LIGHTING David Richardson
at St James Theatre, Wellington
From 19 Apr 2012 to 12 Apr 2012
Reviewed by Jennifer Shiya-Shennan & Olive Rodriguez-Thomas, 30 Apr 2012
originally published in The Dominion Post
[Note: this version was not published in the Dominion Post.]
Hello, I'm Olive. My Shiya took me to see Angelina Ballerina and it was fun. You can tell Angelina straight away because her pink tutu is the same as on the poster. My friend Sophie is going to see it on Saturday so I will tell her that.
When you go in there's a man with a computer and lots of switches to make the lights go up and down, and the sound too. You have to look at your ticket for the number of your seat and make sure it's the same.
Then it goes dark and the show starts. Angelina Ballerina and her friends are in a ballet class and the teacher shows them what to do. The little cousin Henry is a bit naughty and he hides behind the piano, then he hides in the piano. He stops the music and makes everyone laugh.
Angelina is going to another dancing school far away. Her friend has a green dress and she's a bit sad because she can't go too. Angelina rides her bike to get there, it's a real bike. She's not actually a real mouse, she's just got a pretend head of a mouse but maybe she's a rat because she's quite big.
Angelina has a dream and the Nutcracker Prince comes in and there's steam everywhere in the air. Actually it's a real dream.
In the second part they are all at the Faraway School and there's lots of different dancing. I liked the one with the piece of cheese but Shiya liked the green Irish dance with the stamping steps. There were sparkly lights and then the mouse friend in the green dress suddenly turned up and she gave Angelina a big hug.
My favourite bit was at the very end when the curtain came down and all the dancing mouses went right down on the floor and peeped out to wave from under the curtain. We cried out Bravo and I think they loved us.
This review by Jennifer Shennan was published in the Dominion Post (20 April?)
Hundreds of young children took their parents to see Angelina Ballerina's Big Audition, throughout a recent national tour under the entrepreneurship of the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Full houses everywhere prove this is an enterprising way for a ballet company to boost its coffers.
Dancers outside the normal company ranks were recruited as cast. Apart from a number of graduates from New Zealand School of Dance, one notable listing was Katie Hurst-Saxton, formerly a prominent member of RNZB (though injured by the time the company reached Wellington so did not perform here.)
No credits are given for choreographer or composer, so the relevant references are to the series of books about Angelina Mouseling, by Katharine Holabird and illustrated by Helen Craig. While not in the same league as the legendary Frederick Ashton's choreographic adaptation of the Tales of Beatrix Potter, there is clearly much scope to animate the favourites of children's literature in such stagings.
Even the post-Muppets generation responds to the special atmosphere of the likes of St.James Theatre, and one fondly recalls Peter & the Wolf, Terrible Tom and other classics from the company's past repertoire.
A bicycle was used as transport between the attractive settings for Chipping Cheddar and Camembert Ballet Academy. My 4 year old companion, Olive, was enchanted that this was a “real” bicycle. Angelina has a dream, anticipating her forthcoming audition at the dance academy, featuring a kind of Nutcracker Prince. I was asked…“Is that a real dream? Is that a real Angelina Ballerina only with a Mouse's head?” In a world of high tech animation and graphics, it is heartening to help a child sort out what is “really real”, i.e. live, and that in turn supports the importance of story in a child's imaginative life.
The favourite moment, as the curtain came down, saw all the dancing mice peeping out to wave from under the lowering curtain (an old Spike Milligan trick.) The child told her parents later … “We cried out Bravo and I think they loved us.”
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.
Brenda Rae Kidd