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/

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Disney's High School Musical by NMTC Youth Society at the Cripps Hall Theatre, Northampton

As a regular theatre-goer, and indeed reviewer, I have learnt over the years that not all theatre is really for everybody. It's pretty obvious a statement really, but with reviewers, unlike regular theatregoers, you end up by default attending shows you might not dream of going to see as a normal customer. Maybe High School Musical is one pretty close to the top of the list I would only see on "official reviewing duty", as it's not really for a 40-year odd person. However, beyond that, the Northampton Musical Theatre Company Youth Society has come up with a really pretty impressive production of Disney's classic teen musical.

This is a very dramatic departure from the inaugural production of the Youth Theatre in 2018, Les Misérables (much more my thing), however, perhaps unsurprisingly it is better suited to the performers here. Their enthusiasm is even more evident to that previous production. Here, unlike the horrors of revolution-torn France, they can have fu…

Review of The Full Monty at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

The 1997 film The Full Monty is one of the best regarded of relatively recent British films, due to it being both a warm and emotionally strong tale, solid comedy and a wealth of acting talent, and it's no surprise that its very theme has spawned an immensely successful touring stage version. It literally overflows with the opportunity to be performed in front of a, probably mostly female, audience, well, the final scene does, in any case. However, what of the rest, and how about for a male audience member? So to speak. Well, it was time to find out.

The first thing that is apparent from The Full Monty stage show, is how faithful this is to the film. Much of the show is what you have seen if you have seen the film, but translated cleverly to the stage, it feels just that little more real and gritty as well. It opens with a nicely staged scene of darkness and flashes of a torch as Gaz (Gary Lucy), his son Nathan (Fraser Kelly) and Dave (Kai Owen) break into their former factory wo…

Review of The Bodyguard at Milton Keynes Theatre, Milton Keynes

The 1992 film The Bodyguard starring Kevin Costner and the acting debut for singing megastar Whitney Houston, was a slightly average romantic thriller, which is really mostly remembered for its musical turns from Houston, so, it is perhaps surprising that it took a whole twenty years to make it's transition to the stage as a musical version. Premiering in London in December 2012, ten months after Houston's tragic death, the show has had great success around the world, and with this, it's second UK tour, has a recognisable face in the star role, of Alexandra Burke, former X-Factor winner (curiously not mentioned in her programme biog).
The Bodyguard follows the story of former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard Frank Farmer (Benoît Maréchal) who is hired to protect multi-award-winning music star Rachel Marron, following her receiving threats from a stalker.
It's clear from the bold opening performance that Alexandra Burke as Marron is not looking to imitate Houston in…