Chelmsford Ballet Company at the Civic
To mark their sixtieth anniversary, our very own ballet company chose this favourite show; it's one that shows their strengths to perfection.
Good, clear story telling, strong characters, big numbers and a familiar score.
On opening night, Princess Aurora was danced by Bethany Pike. It was a radiant performance, with real flair in the dancing of the Grand Pas d'Action in Act I, and later in tandem with her Prince, an energetic and expressive Mandev Sokhi. She also gave us some nicely ethereal movement in Act II, with convincing fainting in coils after the spindle incident.
Tanya Davenport-Stanyon made an elegant Lilac Fairy, and Jessica Smart was Princess Florine to Matthew Powell's stylish Bluebird. Telling cameos from Luke Bradshaw as the Wolf and Jessica Gosling as Red Riding Hood.
The various fairies were superb, with lots of nuance of character, and the green nymphs shone in the Vision Scene. The corps de ballet – resplendent in dress uniforms for the finale – showed strength in depth, and painted some excellent stage pictures.
The character roles were filled by doyens of the company; room only to mention Elizabeth Baker's extravagantly evil Carabosse, arriving on a chariot with attendant bats and fluffy little demons.
The ballet, always gorgeous to look at, beautifully costumed, was directed by Gillian Toogood, with assistance from Annette Potter.