Review: Northern Ballet’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Northern Ballet dancer Kevin Poeung in David Nixon's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo Emma Kauldhar.

Northern Ballet dancer Kevin Poeung in David Nixon's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo Emma Kauldhar. - Credit: Archant

Northern Ballet's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Norwich Theatre Royal

The course of true love never did run smooth. And Shakespeare's tale of romantic entanglements is given another twist in Northern Ballet artistic director David Nixon's inspired take on A Midsummer Night's Dream at Norwich Theatre Royal.

Set in the 1940s, a touring ballet company is preparing for a production of Romeo and Juliet.

At the final rehearsal, emotions run high as artistic temperaments and romantic affections clash.

The company – Theseus (Hironao Takahashi), Hippolyta (Antoinette Brooks-Daw), Hermia (Martha Leebolt), Lysander (Javier Torres), Helena (Pippa Moore) and Demetrius (Tobias Batley) – catches the overnight sleeper to Edinburgh, where they are due to perform.

When the train enters a tunnel and Theseus drifts into a dream, monochrome reality becomes a Technicolor dreamscape.

He becomes Oberon, king of the fairies. Warring with his queen, Titania, he enlists his henchman Puck (Kevin Poeung) to make mischief with the group's hearts: affections shift and farce ensues – with hapless carpenter Nick Bottom (Darren Goldsmith) getting drawn into the mayhem.

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This production, soundtracked by the music of Mendelssohn and Brahams played live by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia, is a joy – especially the middle act dream sequence.

Nixon has choreographed the romantic confusion very cleverly. There are some truly breathtaking manoeuvres delivered by a seriously talented cast.

Go and be spellbound.

The ballet runs until Saturday

For more Norfolk and Norwich Festival reviews click here

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