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

Killed - July 17th 1916 by Looking Glass Theatre at St Peters Church, Northampton

I first saw Killed by the Looking Glass Theatre in its first incarnation by the company in July 2014. Last weekend I had the pleasure of seeing it in its third version at their new home of St Peters Church. Also new were the cast and unlike that first version, I was familiar with each one of them as all five were the University Of Northampton BA Acting graduates of 2015. Both a masterstroke of casting and a huge extension of kindness of the theatre to give them all these roles.

It was also visionary of them as unlike that first version (with all due respect), these actors were at the very point of their lives to play these roles like no other. All maybe within a year perhaps of the actual characters featured and with the world ahead of them. However sadly these characters portrayed lived in a more terrifying world (although many troubles still remain) and some had no lives ahead of them.

Leading the cast as Billy Dean is Dale Endacott, a recruit who finds himself through a terrible co…

Review of Hacktivists by Ben Ockrent performed by R&D Youth Theatre at Royal & Derngate (Underground), Northampton

The National Theatres Connections series of plays had been one of my highlights of my trips to R&D during 2014. Their short and snappy single act style kept them all interesting and never overstaying their welcome. So I was more than ready for my first encounter with one of this years Connections plays ahead of the main week of performances at R&D later in the year.

Hacktivists is written by Ben Ockrent, whose slightly wacky but socially relevant play Breeders I had seen at St James Theatre last year. Hacktivists is less surreal, but does have a fair selection of what some people would call odd. Myself of the other hand would very much be home with them. So we are presented with thirteen nerdy "friends" who meet to hack, very much in what is termed the white hat variety. This being for good, as we join them they appear to have done very little more than hacked and created some LED light device.

Crashing in to spoil the party however comes Beth (Emma-Ann Cranston) and…

Review of The Lovely Bones at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

It's a few years since I read Alice Sebold's novel The Lovely Bones, a story which tells the tale of Susie Salmon, and her murder and her observations and attempts to control events from Heaven. However, even after this many years, I still remember it for being the source of many manly tears. Therefore it was with some trepidation that I set foot in the Royal part of the Royal & Derngate to see this touring co-production with Birmingham Repertory and Northern Stage. I needn't have worried, as although the story remains much the same, Bryony Lavery's adaptation heads towards the comedy and more relaxed aspects of the story if that is possible of a tale of a murdered 14-year-old.
Lavery and director Melly Still do attempt to unsettle their audience immediately though, launching into a sensory overload of light and sound as we get flashes of things to come in a stylish opening. We have already at this point, seated in the auditorium, been treated with a little of wha…