sat 25/03/2017

Cleopatra, Northern Ballet, Leeds Grand Theatre | reviews, news & interviews

Cleopatra, Northern Ballet, Leeds Grand Theatre

Cleopatra, Northern Ballet, Leeds Grand Theatre

Bullet-pointed ballet on pointes

Martha Leebolt's muscular Cleopatra: The absence of sexual frisson is a feature of the productionAll images © Bill Cooper/Northern Ballet

Northern Ballet’s genes are rooted in the Royal Ballet’s narrative golden age of the Sixties, its most significant leader Christopher Gable having been the originally intended Romeo of Kenneth MacMillan’s iconic 1965 Romeo and Juliet. While the London companies at Covent Garden, Sadler’s Wells and ENB, struggled to make new ballet dramas after MacMillan, Gable loudly and continually insisted that the heart of British storytelling now lay in his popular creations for Northern Ballet Theatre in Yorkshire, and it’s a ballet-lite tradition this company has stuck to for decades through his successors.

For such conflicts, susceptibilities, self-deceptions, treacheries, vanities and other subtle oscillations to be shown in ballet would take a balletic Rembrandt

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I took my family for their first ballet experience (Saturday Matinee). Cleopatra was an excellent performance but a large proportion of the audience including ourselves could not see the back of the stage - this could have been alleviated by the Grand Theatre raising the curtain more fully - not everyone can afford £40 a ticket and you should be able to see all of the performance even if you are in a £20 seat...

Ms Brown, I am a fan of dance in most of its forms so I would not want you to think that I only see Northern Ballet. It is one thing to provide a measured critique of something you do not like and quite something else to do what you have done and write what is little more than a hatchet job that borders on the personal and offensive. Having seen a number of reviews, I appreciate that Cleopatra is not to everyone's taste. This is the only review I have felt strongly enough about to comment on. I do wonder why, over the years, you even bother to attend Northern Ballet's performances when you seem to dislike them before you even arrive. Janet McNulty

Three pages of rant with hardly a good word for anybody, you even had a dig at Christopher Gable!

Critics are important to all parts of performing arts, Critics highlight the highs and lows, it uncovers the truth and makes the performing artists better professionals, Critics can only be valued if they remain honest and decent and give there true professional opinion. Something is very wrong here with these kinds of critics from Ismene Brown clearly this person was at another ballet or has been prompted from some other source to bring not only critic but damage to the Cleopatra production, outrageous, ignorant, and might I say comments infringing illegally and publicly on the sexual agenda of professional artistic dancers, this so called critic should find some other way of making a living, all media companies who employ and source critics will no doubt laugh there socks off at this attack on Northern Ballet’s Production of Cleopatra. They will view this junk critic as being drunk on the job, simply the answer here is Ismene Brown is looking to make a name for her self and bring horror critics on the back of a superbly defined Ballet. She should take up fishing and find peace with her demons. John

Without the "rants" there would be no "raves." We would not require a critic's choice if all forms of entertainment were positively marvelous and well worth the price of a theatre ticket. Freedom to express one's likes and dislikes is our inherent right. An art critic's job is to express an opinion, to judge, evaluate and, yes, to criticize. Harsh judgements can be painful to receive. However, they can also lead to reflection, consideration and thorough thoughtfulness. In consequence, advances are made and Improvements are achieved through this process. Therefore, criticism should be taken in a positive fashion and viewed as a healthy element which is necessary in order to attain a level of excellence.

I saw Cleopatra at Edinburgh's Festival Theatre on Saturday evening and I thought it was superb. Ismene Brown's review is so vicious and hostile it cannot be taken seriously. Perhaps if she were a better writer, she would have been able to disguise her hidden agenda more successfully. I personally think that Martha Leebolt is a gorgeous, expressive dancer - and, judging by the response from the audience at the Festival Theatre, everyone else felt the same.

Just another typical Northern Ballet review from Ms Brown..surely she must be tired of writing the same old rubbish. Cleopatra is once again another hit production for the UK's hardest working dance company...and also one of the few that has a live orchestra.

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