All stories by Neil Norman on BroadwayStars

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

La Fresque review at Sadler’s Wells – ‘laced with lyrical eroticism’ by Neil Norman

Enticement. Entrapment. Enslavement. And hair. Lots of hair. Following Angelin Preljocaj’s singularly sinister vision of Snow White, this latest work appears to

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

David Bintley: ‘At this point I simply want to make dance, not be stuck in an office’ by Neil Norman

Dancer, choreographer and artistic director David Bintley has led Birmingham Royal Ballet for 24 years, but this summer that all changed. He

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Monday, August 12, 2019

Matthew Bourne’s Romeo and Juliet review at Sadler’s Wells, London – ‘bang on the money’ by Neil Norman

Every generation has its Romeo and Juliet. Franco Zeffirelli and Baz Luhrmann on film, Rudolf Nureyev and Kenneth MacMillan in ballet. Now

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Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Bright Stream review at Royal Opera House – ‘Shostakovich ballet suffers from comedy cliché overkill’ by Neil Norman

Shostakovich’s ballet about a farm workers’ collective in the Russian Steppes was briefly popular in 1935 until an article in Pravda damned

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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Giffords Circus: Xanadu review at Chiswick House – ‘the little circus with a big heart’ by Neil Norman

This year’s theme at Giffords Circus is the Summer of Love, circa 1967, and the acts assembled by the redoubtable Nell Gifford

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

San Francisco Ballet review at Sadler’s Wells, London – ‘youthful vigour and physical dexterity’ by Neil Norman

The San Francisco Ballet concludes its London season with another scintillating trio of UK premieres. The company’s youthful vigour, physical dexterity and

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Friday, June 7, 2019

Cinderella review at Royal Albert Hall, London – ‘no shortage of spectacle’ by Neil Norman

Created in 2012 for Dutch National Ballet, Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella is stirred but not shaken from its traditional roots. The shift from

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Monday, June 3, 2019

Sergei Polunin: Rasputin review at London Palladium – ‘eye-rolling theatrics and thundering melodrama’ by Neil Norman

There can be no ignoring the irony. Ballet’s ‘bad boy’ Sergei Polunin as the ‘mad monk’ Rasputin has an undeniable appropriateness. It

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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Four Quartets review at Barbican Theatre – ‘anaemic response to TS Eliot’s enigmatic poem’ by Neil Norman

It is possible to make a non-narrative ballet from a literary classic, as Crystal Pite’s The Tempest Replica and Wayne McGregor’s Woolf

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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Royal Ballet’s Kevin O’Hare: ‘We have a breadth of new talent. I can’t help but be a proud parent’ by Neil Norman

The former dancer took over as director of the Royal Ballet in 2012 with a reputation as a safe pair of hands.

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Monday, April 29, 2019

Israel Galván: La Fiesta review at Sadler’s Wells, London – ‘magnificent surrealist flamenco’ by Neil Norman

There is a sadness at the heart of Israel Galván’s latest work. Inspired by the end of a flamenco performance when all

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Friday, April 5, 2019

English National Ballet’s She Persisted review at Sadler’s Wells, London – ‘wondrous and rewarding’ by Neil Norman

When US senator Mitch McConnell admonished fellow senator Elizabeth Warren in 2017, who refused to be silenced, with the phrase “Nevertheless, she

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Romeo and Juliet review at Royal Opera House, London – ‘lacks sizzle’ by Neil Norman

Kenneth MacMillan brought psychological depth and sexual passion to the classical repertoire with his first three-act ballet. Not that you’d know it

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Monday, March 18, 2019

The Thread review at Sadler’s Wells, London – ‘impressive reworking of traditional dance’ by Neil Norman

Three years in the making, this project from choreographer Russell Maliphant and composer Vangelis is all Greek to me. Straying well beyond

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Monday, January 21, 2019

Asphodel Meadows/The Two Pigeons review at Royal Opera House, London – ‘a perfect pairing’ by Neil Norman

The contrasts could hardly be more pronounced. Youthful vigour versus dulcet experience; aesthetic abstraction versus trad narrative; cool objectivity versus tear-jerking melodrama.

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Manon review at London Coliseum – ‘an exemplary performance from Alina Cojocaru’ by Neil Norman

This touring production of Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon is stripped to kill. Originated by the Royal Danish Ballet its spartan design is cool,

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Monday, December 24, 2018

Circus 1903 review at Royal Festival Hall, London – ‘agreeably old-fashioned mix of circus and theatre’ by Neil Norman

It is hard to imagine a less circus-like environment than the auditorium of the Royal Festival Hall. Yet Circus 1903 is more

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Friday, December 21, 2018

2018: Best dance of the year by Neil Norman

It was a year of peaks and troughs in 2018, of rising stars and returning veterans, old dogs and new tricks. Classical

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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Les Patineurs/Winter Dreams/The Concert review at Royal Opera House – ‘a very mixed bill’ by Neil Norman

This Royal Ballet triple bill is a classic example of ‘Chequers Deal’ programming. The attempt to please everyone results in a deeply

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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Aladdin review at Hackney Empire – ‘Drop dead fabulous’ by Neil Norman

Pantomime is a uniquely British institution. A panto that isn’t rude, vulgar, raucous, smutty and mildly offensive isn’t a panto, it’s anaesthetised

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Layla and Majnun review at Sadler’s Wells, London – ‘decorous and expressive’ by Neil Norman

Originating around the ninth Century in Persia the story of Layla and Majnun was described by George Gordon, Lord Byron as “the

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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Carlos Acosta: A Celebration review at Royal Albert Hall – ‘immaculately danced’ by Neil Norman

Carlos Acosta may have retired from classical ballet but he is still restlessly inventive. Following the disappointing debut of his dance version

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo review at Peacock Theatre, London – ‘impressive pastiche’ by Neil Norman

It’s a cold heart that doesn’t warm to the Trocks. The company’s singular brand of pastiche has been refined and honed over

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Friday, August 24, 2018

Swan Lake review at London Coliseum – ‘pedestrian trot through Tchaikovsky’s most popular ballet’ by Neil Norman

Thank God for the orchestra. Tchaikovsky’s blazingly inventive ballet score receives a well-rounded interpretation by the English National Opera orchestra under the

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Monday, August 6, 2018

Club Swizzle review at Roundhouse, London – ‘a heady cocktail of cabaret and acrobatics’ by Neil Norman

The bastard child of Joel Gray and Liberace, Reuben Kaye is the Blizzard from Oz. There must be something about Australia that

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Friday, July 20, 2018

East Wall: Storm the Tower review at Tower of London – ‘an extraordinary event’ by Neil Norman

A thunderous, hypnotic drumbeat. The scalp-prickling drone of cellos. The low voices of a choir as they intone the lyrics of Space

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Friday, June 29, 2018

Gifford’s Circus: My Beautiful Circus review at Chiswick House, London – ‘unadulterated charm’ by Neil Norman

1930s glamour, songs from Cole Porter, Gershwin and Arthur Freed plus prancing Shetland ponies and dancing Dachshunds. Those of you seeking dangerous,

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Friday, June 22, 2018

Semperoper Ballett review at Sadler’s Wells, London – ‘breathtaking precision’ by Neil Norman

For their first appearance at Sadler’s Wells, Dresden’s Semperoper Ballett make a judicious selection of William Forsythe works. His classical-based modernism is

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Monday, June 4, 2018

Ballet Now: the Birmingham trailblazer boosting new dance works by Neil Norman

Ballet Now will launch 10 new works in five years, pledging to expand its classical repertoire with fresh offerings. Neil Norman finds

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Friday, June 1, 2018

Akram Khan’s Xenos review at Sadler’s Wells, London – ‘a work of incredible potency’ by Neil Norman

Akram Khan claims that this will be his final solo work. At 43, the artist/performer – dancer/choreographer seems too limiting – confesses

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Life Is a Dream review at Sadler’s Wells, London – ‘fragments of brilliance’ by Neil Norman

Milton’s line: “No light, but rather darkness visible” is as good a description of Kim Brandstrup’s new work as any. The first

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