Coppélia ★★★★★ St. Gabriel's Halls | Aug 3 - 6 & 12 - 14, 2021


Coppélia shows that ballet can really be fun, especially in the hands of a choreographer as talented as William Spencer. He certainly removes the 'elitist' tag classically based dance can be tainted with. In tandem with musical director Aaron Clingham, Spencer makes something interesting and delightful to both the eye and the ear. E.T.A. Hoffmann's original story remains intact, at least in essence, but gone are girls in tutus to be replaced by three handsome young gay men. Our lusty heroes are interested in the wares displayed in a fetish shop run by the lecherous Dr. C., Thomas Edward Buckley, who dances very well as the proprietor and elicits plenty of fun with his perfect timing. It is, however, the three young men who own the show. Hayden Tierney dances superbly and exudes sexuality, especially in his erotic bedroom pas de deux paired with the wonderfully supple dancing of Lewis Rimmer. Jack Buchanan is properly puckish as their friend. All three guys are obviously very well trained and their placement, spins, extensions and jumps are excellently executed. Spencer's choreography plays to their strengths whilst paying obvious homage to some of the greats including Jerome Robbins, Bob Fosse and, of course, Matthew Bourne. Spencer definitely stamps his own mark on this delightful and amusing work; not even Bourne has created a dance involving dildos! At fifty-five minutes this ballet really stretches the dancers, but their efforts and boundless energy are most definitely worthwhile. Coppélia is beautifully danced and terrifically entertaining.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by D.S.J.
Photo by Brittain Photography.

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