Chelmsford Ballet Company at the Civic Theatre
This romantic Danish ballet, with its colourful story and uncomplicated tunes, was created in 1842, and first danced by our Chelmsford company in 1988. This new version by Annette Potter, the group's artistic director, makes much of the mime of Act I, and gives all the ensembles a chance to shine.
The drama and comedy of the first act – the arrival of the fishermen, the excellently done slander sequence, the atmospheric storm, and Gennaro's anguish assuaged by prayer – made a dramatic contrast with the mysterious Blue Grotto [the Naiads in beautiful costumes], and the wedding celebrations of the Final Act, with an impressive archway upper level.
This is a company piece first of all, but we did have some excellent solo work, from Samuel Butler as an energetic fisherman, Rachel Watson as a charming Teresina and Luke Bradshaw as a proud, impassioned Gennaro. Not forgetting Giacomo and Peppo, [Bart Lambert and Sam Toland] a pair of anarchic moustachioed Broker's Men.
It's a shame more people couldn't share this Mediterranean escapism [the frocks were colourful and authentic – the splendid Act One harbour set looked more like Newquay than Naples]; it deserves to be better known. Next year sees the return of the ever-popular Coppélia, by which time the company may well be trading under the Chelmsford City Ballet logo …