LAST EDITED ON 24-12-00 AT 01:40 PM (GMT)
"Kidnapped Mirlitons located - sad Paddington 'ballet nut' cornered in flat" would yell the Evening Standard headline.
Inside I (for it is me) would be at one end of the room and some worried looking ENB Mirlitons, in their full and very cute Allsorts costumes, would be at the other, twirling nervously. "Oh just one more time ladies" I'd say, oblivious of the SWOT teams outside.... "Come along sir I'm sure we can sit down and sort this all out if you could just release the little dancers."
I'm not sure why but the ENB Mirlitons, the music, the choreography, the design make me incredibly happy and totally oblivious of all else: worries just melt away. Other Mirlitons impress too, but there is something so perfect, so balanced and symmetrical about the ENB ones that I just get carried away. I tell you that Standard headline is a nearer reality than you all think!
I do like the Nutcracker, though the prospect of a full winter campaign can be daunting at first. But on the opening night of ENB's London season there was especially good cheer at seeing Teddy Kumakawa and Viviana Durante dance again in London. He has not been seen for two and a half years and there was much dismay when it became clear that Durante would not be appearing with the Royal Ballet at all in the 2000/01 season. All too long for their respective fans who turned out in droves. Kumakawa of course has an image of rock star proportions back in Japan and now has his own company (K Ballet) - there were many Japanese fans in the audience.
I have to say I was very impressed by Kumakawa - I always liked his pyrotechnics but rather resented the horrid way he partnered anybody. It was all him and precious little effort was 'wasted' helping his ballerina. That's just not on. Well now he seems to have matured and judged on Tuesday's performance he is a gracious and generous partner. He looks all the greater artist for it and it would be a pleasure to see him in a full length role some time. And yes he still jumps well and thrills us all!
Durante positively glowed and brought glamour and artistry to what is one of the oddest roles in the repertoire. In such hands the Sugar Plum even looks incredibly significant. She is one of the best dancers in the world and regardless of whatever difficulties there may be it's a crying shame that she is not to be seen more regularly in the city she lives in.
Of the lesser roles I have to praise Simone Clarke and Yosvani Ramos in the Spanish dance: well matched, they both gave 120% and captured the staccato moody speed of it. Sheer attitude and passion can really lift something well above 'ordinary' excellence. (Note to Matz Skoog - the new Artistic Director for next season - it would be nice to see them get a matinee lead in something.). Also one can't praise Alice Crawford as Clara enough - a smashing actress.
Of the ENB Nut much has been said - its act 1 is modern and fine enough. Act 2 is gloriously in keeping with tradition and the Liquorice Allsorts design pleases me greatly, though the dancing bags of sweets are perhaps a lapse. But what of my views because audiences love it and the place was full and will remain so in all probability. In any case I can forgive anything if the ENB Mirlitons are involved. I refuse to believe this is sad, and anyway before long it will become a recognised medical condition I'm sure - hopefully totally untreatable as well....