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Northern Ballet

“Boldly original new work”

Northern Ballet is known for its dramatic prowess in large narrative works, but its latest triple bill shows off the company’s skill in smaller-scale fare, mixing abstraction with a recognisable flux of feeling.

Kenneth Tindall’s elegant and inventive Shape of Sound, set to Max Richter’s reworking of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, sweeps through saturnine tension to sunny virtuosity, with eye-catching bursts of neon lighting.

Company dancer Mlindi Kulashe’s Mamela (“listen” in Xhosa) quite promisingly evokes an air of uncertain malaise, but it suffers from a bland score and could be edited.

The highlight of the evening is Morgann Runacre-Temple’s boldly original The Kingdom of Back, which deploys an expansive yet nuanced scale of emotion without relying on a wash of music to generate it. It’s based on the life of Mozart’s older sister Marianne (nicknamed Nannerl – the title refers to the siblings’ imaginary realm), a prodigiously talented fortepianist and composer denied the freedoms and fame of her brother Wolfgang.

Antoinette Brooks-Daw shines as Nannerl: she begins with zany frivolity, her wiggling dance accompanied by a massive powdered wig and pastel lighting. Austere discipline reigns, however, via the black-clad figure of father Leopold (an imperious Javier Torres), who insists on keyboard practice and patriarchal mores.

While Kulashe’s Wolfgang limbers unreservedly – roiling and coiling around the space – Nannerl remains cloistered in Leopold’s domain, demarcated by a stark white rectangle on the floor. Within that, though, there’s room to evoke the sublimely inventive reaches of musical talent through dartingly mercurial physical phrases.

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Production Details
Production nameNorthern Ballet
VenueLinbury Theatre
StartsNovember 5, 2019
EndsNovember 7, 2019
Running time2hrs
ComposerFrank Moon, Jack Edmonds, Max Richter
ChoreographerKenneth Tindall, Mlindi Kulashe, Morgann Runacre-Temple
Costume designerKimie Nakano
Lighting designerAlastair West
CastAntoinette Brooks-Daw, Ashley Dixon, Javier Torres, Miki Akuta, Mlindi Kulashe, Rachael Gillespie, Sarah Chun, Sean Bates
Stage managerLyndsey Holmes
VerdictMorgann Runacre-Temple’s tribute to Mozart’s forgotten sister shines in a strong mixed bill
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Anna Winter

Anna Winter

Anna Winter

Anna Winter

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