THEATRE ROYAL PLYMOUTH UNTIL 8 OCTOBER 2022
BOX OFFICE 01752 267222
RUNNING TIME – 2 HOURS 30 MINUTES (INCLUDING TWO INTERVALS)
5 OCTOBER 2022
One of the true pleasures of reviewing theatre productions is getting to know the work of particular companies and that of Birmingham Royal Ballet has never failed to impress me. Their twice-yearly visits to Theatre Royal Plymouth are lauded by the audiences who await their arrival with bated breath.
‘Coppélia’ is a simple but warm-hearted story of love and magic; it is often held up as one of the best ballets to introduce new viewers to; especially younger ones. When presented as well as this, then you have a winner on your hands. Peter Wright’s production sparkles against the background of Peter Farmer’s beautifully realised sets and costumes, the atmospheric lighting of Johnny Westall-Eyre, all accompanied by the wonderful music of Leo Delibes.
Humour plays an enormous part in this ballet and the talented performers soak up every chance to keep the proceedings light-hearted; it is a production to keep a smile on your face and a warmth in your heart.
As the slightly precocious Swanilda, Céline Gittens, is blessed with a wonderfully expressive face and a supreme dancing talent; more than matched by the imposing and impressive Tyrone Singleton as Franz; he commands the stage throughout faultlessly. Mixing it up as Dr Coppélius is veteran performer Michael O’Hare; a performance of utter joy and one which engages and entertains in spades.
The set-piece sequences are exquisitely performed from the rousing mazurka at the beginning of Act One, to the ‘Festival of the Bell’ dances in Act Three. It is during the latter that some of the best work is seen; Yijing Zhang’s brilliantly delicate ‘Prayer’; Riku Ito as the leader of the ‘Call to Arms’ and the return of Swanilda and Franz as ‘Peace’ in a pas de deux of superb grace. Throughout the Corps de Ballet are at the top of their game and utterly mesmerising. The choreography is classy and thrilling. The standard of performance is as good as it gets.
Under the baton of Paul Murphy, the Royal Ballet Sinfonia offer up Delibes score with a warmth and joy which compliments the performers to perfection.
This is a traditional production of a rightly well-loved ballet and it is difficult to imagine a better version of it. The ballet-lovers who frequent the Theatre Royal Plymouth will have been royally entertained, and I can only imagine that anyone new to ballet will have been enchanted and beguiled by this most beautiful and fun piece of theatre.
CAST & CREATIVES
SWANILDA – CÉLINE GITTENS
FRANZ – TYRONE SINGLETON
DR COPPÉLIUS – MICHAEL O’HARE
SWANILDA’S FRIENDS – KARLA DOORBAR, REINA FUCHIGAMI, SONIA LIÑARES, EMMA PRICE, LUCY WAINE, YIJING ZHANG
BURGOMASTER – JONATHAN PAYN
INNKEEPER – RORY MACKAY
COPPÉLIA – OLIVIA CHANG CLARKE
GYPSY – ISABELLA HOWARD
MAZURKA & CZÁRDÁS – ALYS SHEE, EILIS SMALL, GABRIEL ANDERSON, HAOLIANG FENG
ORIENTAL DOLL – OLIVIA CHANG CLARKE
SPANISH DOLL – AMELIA THOMPSON
SCOTTISH DOLL – LOUIS ANDREASEN
SOLDIER DOLLS – OSCAR KEMPSEY-FAGG, MASON KING
THE DUKE – DOMINIC ANTONUCCI
HIS AIDE – OSCAR KEMPSEY-FAGG
FATHER TIME – RORY MACKAY
DAWN – MIKI MITZUTANI
PRAYER – YIJING ZHANG
WORK – OLIVIA CHANG CLARKE, ISABELLA HOWARD, EMMA PRICE, MATILDE RODRIGUES, EILIS SMALL, YUKI SUGIURA, LYNSEY SUTHERLAND, AMELIA THOMPSON
BETROTHAL – REINA FUCHIGAMI, GUS PAYNE
CALL TO ARMS – RIKU ITO, GABRIEL ANDERSON, ENRIQUE BEJARANO VIDAL, RYAN FELIX, HAOLIANG FENG, AUGUST GENERALLI, MILES GILLIVER, MASON KING, JAVIER ROJAS
MUSIC – LEO DELIBES
CHOREGRAPHY – MARIUS PETIPA, ENRICO CECCHETTI & PETER WRIGHT
PRODUCTION – PETER WRIGHT
SCENERY AND COSTUMES – PETER FARMER
LIGHTING – JOHNNY WESTALL EYRE (BASED ON THE ORIGINAL DESIGN BY PETER TEIGEN)
CONDUCTOR – PAUL MURPHY