Skip to main content

Review of Wonderland by Spotlight Dance School at Cripps Hall Theatre, Northampton

Dance shows have not exactly been at the top of my theatre going despite the fact that when I have gone, I have generally enjoyed them (we shall not mention that ballet). The first dance performance I actually saw was a few years ago when I was invited to Isham Dark at the University of Northampton by Mary O'Brien to see the then students there. It was a little out of my usual interest, however, the skill during the show was quite something. So a call out of whether I could fit this show into my schedule from Mary was difficult to ignore, and it was on my one free night that week, I took a little trip to Wonderland.

Wonderland was created through the students of Spotlight Dance School and if plays are described as herding cats, this was very much of the herding kiddies flavour as 93 performers took to the stage from 3-21 and quite frankly with incredible success. Even when something sort of went wrong (a young diva refusing to go on stage for instance), it was all received with just a wonderfully relaxed attitude.

The first half of the evening was the Wonderland of the title as we were told the classic Alice in Wonderland through dance, it was all so incredible coherent as a telling of the story. As Alice, Ellie Lancaster had amazing presence and ability taking us across her tale. All of the characters are brilliantly distinctive and there were some wonderful eyecatching costumes on display. The returning characters of Tweedle Dee (Georgie Wild) and Tweedle Dum (Imogen Masters) were perhaps the most entertaining, while Olivia Geddes made a very striking and statuesque Queen of Hearts.

The second half leaves the storytelling behind a little to a collection of group and solo pieces of ballet and contemporary. The latter for myself was my my favourite offering some superb pieces. Loop from guest choreographer Leah Waterfield was a striking, brilliantly performed piece, while there was clearly a great deal of love put into the tribute piece All I Ask created by Jessica Pegg.

The only possible criticism that I might lay at the show was that perhaps it was a little long. However there was no question Wonderland was a brilliant evening of dance, very well received and appreciated by the audience on the night. Some great talent on display and some mischievous kids on stage as well. A great night brilliantly brought together by lead choreographer Mary O'Brien and her team.

Performance reviewed: Friday 26th May, 2017 at the Cripps Hall Theatre, Northampton.

Wonderland was performed on Friday 26th and Saturday 27th May, 2017 only at the Cripps Hall Theatre.
Details of Spotlight Dance School can be found at http://www.spotlightdance.co.uk/

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Woman In Mind by Masque Theatre at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

I like Alan Ayckbourn, I may only have seen a few of his vast array of plays previously, but all have been a delight, often crazy yes, but constantly funny, and especially in the second act spiralling often into just on the very edge of believable nonsense. With Woman In Mind, acknowledged by many as one of his finest works, my own personal jury is very much out on whether I liked it or not.
What was very good, mostly, however, were the performances, most especially the two that we are introduced to at the very beginning. The prostrate Susan (Nicola Osborne), with sinisterly lurking rake alongside her, and the bag struggling doctor, Bill (John Myhill).
Nicola Osborne has the unenviable task in this play of never leaving the stage, a feat in itself. Add to this the constant weaving of the character's world (more on this later), and you have a role featuring some significant challenge, one that Osborne ably surmounts. I once described Osborne as a "safe pair of hands" in …

Press launch of Sting's The Last Ship at Errol Flynn Filmhouse, Northampton

On Friday 16th February 2018, I attended the official press launch of The Last Ship. In attendance were the writer of the show, Sting, and cast members for the 2018 UK tour Richard Fleeshman, Charlie Hardwick and Joe McGann, with musical support from Rob Mathes.

During the event, opened entertainingly by producer Karl Sydow, Sting and the cast members performed seven of the songs from the show: The Last Ship (Sting), Dead Man's Boots (Sting and Fleeshman), Sail Away (Hardwick), The Night the Pugilist Learned to Dance (Fleeshman), What Say You Meg? (Fleeshman) and What Have You Got? (Sting and cast).

Each of these songs showed us a great background to the evocative tale that The Last Ship tells, of a community under attack as its crucial shipbuilding industry begins to fail. The performers and Sting himself delivered the songs with huge passion, despite, as Sting himself commented, the earnestness of the hour, with the event beginning at 10 am.

The Last Ship was initially inspired …

Review of Accused, performed by University Of Northampton BA Actors at St Peter's Church, Northampton

Going into seeing Accused, the first devised show by this years third year BA Actors graduates, I have to confess I shamefully knew nothing of its influence, Oscar Wilde's The Ballad of Reading Gaol. However, it wasn't a great leap for me to identify that the piece gorgeously sung by the whole cast at the end of this really imaginative piece, was indeed part of the Ballad itself.

The Ballad it turns out, written by Wilde during exile following release from Reading tells of the execution of a man called Wooldridge, a man hung for cutting the throat of his wife. In Accused, we have another prisoner, destined to hang, but cleverly for what remains to its end, an unknown crime. It's bad, pretty bad, clear from the reaction of both prisoner and guards alike, and the Accused's life is generally in danger a great deal, long before the Executioner (played extremely nicely by Georgi McKie) comes to do her bidding.

Playing the Accused, and really rather brilliantly, is Alexande…