Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
Coppelia is an unmissable feel-good, charming ballet
This delight of a ballet sweeps you away with the romance and fun of it all. But along with its charm, Birmingham Royal Ballet's Coppelia also benefits from difficult routines performed effortlessly by a talented cast.
Coppelia is a feel-good ballet from Birmingham Royal Ballet
Easy to follow, this production is a great ballet for beginners to the genre, especially children, who will also be dazzled by the array of glittering costumes and oppulent sets.
Split into three acts, the first section sets the scene in an almost pantomime fashion with plenty of humour. It sees sweethearts Swanilda and Franz come to blows over his flirtations with a girl he sees reading on a balcony - Coppelia. Unbeknown to Franz, Coppelia is actually a doll that has been created by quirky inventor Dr Coppelius.
Nao Sakuma as Swanilda and Chi Cao as Franz are stunning together, mesmerising the crowd with their connection and exceptional abilities.
Moving on to the second act, a jealous Swanilda and her friends venture into Dr Coppelius' house, a mysterious haven of bubbling experiments, life-size wind-up dolls and other strange creations.
It coincides with cheeky Franz also breaking in the house to meet the girl of his dreams, but gets caught by Dr Coppelius, who drugs him in order to test out his magic on the lothario.
The scenery is a feast for the eyes as is the dancing, particulary by Nao Sakuma, who marvelously becomes the epitomy of a doll when pretending to be Coppelia, in order to wake Franz and escape the house.
Coming alive before the inventor's eyes, she dances seamlessly from robotic staccato movements to an animated, vivacious girl.
The final act concludes with a grand setting and even grander choreography.
The strands of the story come together as Swanilda and Franz celebrate their engagement during a festival at the Duke's mansion. Even angry Dr Coppelius ends up being placated for their antics to bring about the truly happy ending, fitting for this fairytale story.
Much of this section is a chance for Birmingham Royal Ballet to showboat its many ballet artists through dances including the beguiling Dance of the Hours and Dawn of a New Day.
In all, it's a dream of a show combining a charming adventure with breathtaking dances. Coppelia will lift your spirits and dazzle all the senses.