Down by The Jeté

A night at the ballet just shows what a great range of shows Bristol Hippodrome are currently offering

Dave Parker

If your idea of a night at the ballet is going to a concert to see Tony Hadley and friends (I know he’s not the lead singer anymore) then you are missing out. To cut a long story short, as a co -presenter of the Bath Laugh Marathon on Radio Bath, I was persuaded to go to see the Varna International Ballet who were performing ‘The Nutcracker’
at the Bristol Hippodrome last Saturday night.
 
Ballet isn’t really my thing but I had been to the ballet before. A few years ago, a girl I was keen on seeing more of took me to Swan Lake in Covent Garden. I returned the favour by taking her to see ‘Popcorn’ a play based on the Ben Elton novel. We saw less of each other after that, but I don’t blame Ben.
 
My next experience was years later in Covent Garden again to watch The Nutcracker as a Christmas treat for my 2-year-old daughter who was ‘at the bar’ once a week at the Manvers Street Baptist Church in the centre of Bath.
 
So only twice in a lifetime but I was about to make it a charm for the third time at the Hippo. The first act flew by as the novelty of being at the ballet. I got caught up in watching such a mix of colour, light and graceful movement. The bonus is that you are also listening to a live orchestra which is a reason on its own to make it to live event.


The story of the old inventor entertaining the children with magic culminating in a battle between the Prince’s army and an army of mice led by the Mouse Queen gave the Bulgarian touring company what they needed to put on a great show. However, if the Local council in 19th century Germany had offered a Residential Pest Control Service, then the story might have been very different.


The second act was a journey through the Land of Fantasy and offered a lot of set-piece choreography to some of Tchaikovsky’s most famous music. The ‘Russian Dance Trepak, the ‘Dance of The Sugar Plum Fairy’ and the ‘Dance of The Reed Pipes’ which to the uncultured like myself, makes you think of a chocolate advert from the 1970s.
 

It’s events like this that really put the Bristol Hippodrome on the radar for special nights out at the theatre. They’ve got a tonne of stuff coming up including musicals, comedy performances and more ballet as Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty is on from 28th February to the 4th of March this year which I would urge to get out and see, even if ballet isn’t usually your thing.
 
If you’re able, then definitely get a ticket to anywhere you can to see the Varna International Ballet perform. Your best chance is to catch them in Reading at the end of February where they will be performing The Nutcracker again and two performances of Swan Lake.

You can listen to Dave on the weekly ‘Bath Laugh’ show on Radio Bath every Friday from 7pm – 9pm