Over the Easter holidays, Alfie and I were lucky enough to be invitedÂ to a production of CoppÃ©lia aimed at children. We piled into Holborn’s Peacock Theatre along withÂ a crowd of enthusiastic youngsters and their parents on a Tuesday afternoon and prepared to be entertained. And so we were. The production is a joint venture between the English National Ballet and the English National Ballet School, so the cast is young and I think that helped it appeal to theÂ audience, who were aged largely between four and about eight.Â CoppÃ©lia is a great story (doll supposedly comes to life) with fantastic music by Delibes and this abridged production (around 90 minutes, including interval) is just the right length for fidgety bottoms.
The lead roles of Swanilda and Franz were ably performed byÂ Kaylee Marko and Marcio Teixera (Alfie was extremely impressed with the male dancers’ leaps and pirouettes) and I can’t fault the dance skills of any of the cast. The costumes were wonderful and the sets simple, but atmopsheric, especially Dr Coppelius’s workshop. So can I fault it? Well, it was definitely a shame there wasn’t live music (the acoustics in the Peacock didn’t help matters), but I doubt the children really noticed, and, although I understand the thinking behind it, the constant narration was a bit jarring at times. I think that the story could have been explained at the beginning of each act, rather than throughout the action, but all in all, a great introduction to the world of ballet. The production is currently on tour, visiting Royal Tunbridge Wells, Bromley, Woking and Aylesbury in May – see the ENO website for booking details.Â