Chelmsford Ballet Company at the Civic Theatre
Coppélia was the first ballet presented by our city's own ballet company just after the war, and it has been successfully revived many times since.
This latest version, adapted by Artistic Director Annette Potter, soft-pedals the sinister and concentrates on the fun, the humour and the magic. A packed matinée loved it, and enjoyed some lovely warm performances. Setting the tone, Andy Potter as a nutty professor Coppelius, grumpily guarding his magic doll.
Popping in like Alice through the tiny door, Demi Aldred made a feisty Swanilda, the girl who turns automaton to get her man. She danced with easy fluency – an impressive Act III solo – and an infectious sense of mischief: she had lots of fun with her gang of four, who made a neat ensemble without looking too regimented. Her Franz was guest artist Richard Bermange, who was dazzling in his solos, partnered Demi in an elegant pas de deux, and was brilliant at drawing the audience into the plot.
A happy corps de ballet, beautifully costumed, provided a colourful context – reapers, national dolls, crusader knights, hours and bridesmaids; there was outstanding work from Samantha Ellis in the two surviving solo divertissements, and from Michael Smith and Megan McLatchie leading the increasingly frenetic Czardas.