Under the sea is not the normal place you would think for Northern Ballet to set their incredible brand-new production, but prepare to be astonished! David Nixon’s The Little Mermaid dazzles as life in the ocean is brought to the stage and the contrast of life on land for Marilla, the little mermaid, it far too much to handle. We are not quite in the same story as the Disney classic but this doesn’t matter at all as the heart and soul of the piece shines through. Marilla falls in love with Prince Adair and wants to be human, makes a pact with the Lord of the sea, things definitely don’t go to plan for this little hopeless romantic.
In the opening scene the ocean is alive with the water men and women accompanied by creatures of the sea. The movement style and precision executed by all on stage is outstanding as you feel like you’re underwater with them along on the journey. The set design phenomenal with such a simplistic idea creating the depths below and skies above, setting the stakes high for the tension to come. I particularly loved transformation to the ship and crew, really looked and felt amazing.
David Nixon’s choreography is tremendous, encapsulating the elegance and sheer effortlessness of gliding through the sea. The contrast of movement on land very noticeable and clearly defined creating the perfect picture. I have to say this is the best ballet I have ever seen by Northern Ballet and enjoyed every minute. A truly magical experience this Christmas time!
About Leeds Grand Theatre
The Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House was built in 1878 in a backlash to the music hall tradition which was thought by ‘polite society’ to lower the tone of entertainment via the sort of humour presented in these pub-based establishments.
The theatre was built on a site of approximately three quarters of an acre with a frontage on New Briggate of 56 yards, including the Assembly Rooms.
The theatre cost a total of £62,000 and took 13 months to build. The architect, George Corson, was heavily influenced by his assistant James Robertson Watson who had undertaken a tour of Europe’s churches and theatres.
Many of the design inspirations came from these continental influences, in particular the gothic, ecclesiastical spires. The exterior is in a mixture of Romanesque and Scottish baronial styles, while the interior has such gothic motifs as fan-vaulting and clustered columns.
The first performance at the theatre was Much Ado About Nothing on 18 November 1878 and stars that have trodden the boards over the years have included Sarah Bernhardt, Ellen Terry, Julie Andrews, Felicity Kendal, Morecambe and Wise and Laurence Olivier.
The Grand Theatre celebrated the 125th anniversary of its opening in 2003. It is widely regarded as a major milestone in Victorian theatre building.
Tours of the theatre are available to find out more about the history of this fascinating building.