LAST NIGHT'S REVIEW: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Northern Ballet, the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

Daily Echo: A scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream A scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream

I HAVE seen most of the classical ballets over the years, so it was refreshing to see one completely new to me.

Inspired by Shakespeare’s classic play of the same name, I had little idea of what to expect with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, though Northern Ballet’s interpretation of the source material was both impressive and innovative.

The company tells the story of the romantic antics of a touring dance company played out on one night as it rehearses then travels by train from London to Edinburgh.

Tensions from the final rehearsals play out in a magical world.

Shakespeare often uses the play within a play structure, and the performance within a performance context of the dance studio rehearsal was equally effective as perhaps also a comment on the dance world itself.

All the major characters you would expect from Shakespeare’s timeless play are present.

The quality of the dancing was impressive throughout the company, but the principal dancers excelled with beautiful lines and a lyrical quality, doing justice to artistic director David Nixon’s choreography. The pas de deux sequences were all excellent with complicated acrobatic moves appearing effortless.

But particularly touching was the one between the artistic director and the prima ballerina (Martha Leebolt and Tobias Batley).

But the charismatic Puck (Nicola Gervasi) stole the show for me.

Humour is I think sometimes difficult in ballet, but there were some great comedy turns that had the audience laughing.

Dancers were accompanied by music from Mendelssohn and Brahms played by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia.

The scenery and costumes were superb as the 1940s-set monochrome starkness of the first act contrasted perfectly with the neon dream world of the second act.

Very effective was the transformation of the studio into the train.

If you are looking for a new interpretation of Shakespeare or just to immerse yourself in a ballet with something different to offer this is the production for you.

  • A Midsummer Night's Dream runs until Saturday. Tickets: 023 8071 1811 or click here>>

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