Requiem - Northern Ballet Theatre

NBT is certainly known for its extravagant productions, with the likes of Beauty and the Beast, Dracula and the Hunchback of Notre Dame in their back collection.

There's nothing wrong with being obscure or challenging audiences to think for themselves.

NBT is certainly known for its extravagant productions, with the likes of Beauty and the Beast, Dracula and the Hunchback of Notre Dame in their back collection.

But this piece takes them in a totally different and, for me, less rewarding direction.

Their ability to tell a tale and explore it to its dramatic potential has disappeared, as this piece, with death as the main metaphor, has no coherent train of thought.

Sure, you can see that death is everywhere, always present and something nobody can avoid. But what's that umbrella doing, those shoes – and all that rope work? Perhaps my soul isn't deep enough to appreciate the inner symbolism but do audiences really want to work that hard?

The dancers remain as superlative as ever. David Kierce, the company's ballet master, stepped out from backstage to play Death and gave a physically powerful performance while the dancers representing Man, Simon Kidd, Adam Temple and Christopher Hinton-Lewis, were again spot on.

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Yet the real thrill is Mozart's marvellous score, accompanied by four soloists and 50 members of Keswick Hall Choir. It is as sublime as the choreography isn't.

It's rumoured that the NBT are returning to Norwich in December with a Christmas Carol, possibly with the charismatic Jeremy Kerridge as Scrooge. This appeals to me much more – and I suspect it will to you, too.

Sarah Hardy

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