Trying to get into the Christmas spirit I made sure I didn’t leave anytime to feel lonely or sad. I made plans for every night to be filled with a show and a nice dinner. If you are ever in London during the holidays here are three great ways to spend your nights.
The English Ballet’s Nutcracker at The Coliseum
You can’t spend the holidays without being moved by the Nutcracker, whether they are in store front windows or on stage dancing live. The story of the Nutcracker helps bring the Christmas spirit alive. The English Ballet took a modern approach to the classic Russian ballet, directed by Gerald Scarfe. As the opening act began and the characters started to reveal themselves I realized this wasn’t going to be the traditional ballet, which I was expecting, being a former dancer. Instead, the dancers seemed to be characters out of Dr. Seuss story, straight out of Whoville, with crazy hair wigs in odd colors and costumes that seemed too extreme. Costumes are just as much a part of the ballet as is the technique. The costumes were distracting and took away from the dancer’s performance. Even the set design was a bit outlandish. I suppose when you are expecting one thing and you get another you can’t help but feel disappointed.
Luckily, the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Prince saved the performance, wearing thankfully classic costumes and stole the show with a great performance during the Land of Snow act. Their technique and grace was beautiful and impressive. If after watching their performance you can’t appreciate the ballet, something is wrong with you. It brought me back to the days when I was little girl watching the Nutcracker at the Jackie Gleason Theatre thinking “If I could only be the Sugar Plum Fairy”. It was characters like her that made me become a dancer. I forgot and forgave Act 1 and remained mesmerized by the rest of the performance.
I must say without trying to sound rude that it was odd to see the Nutcracker, with Clara being performed by an asian dancer. I suppose when you have seen the Nutcracker in the United States all your life, you have this idea of who Clara is. It took awhile to get over that fact.
The night was wonderful either way and being inside the Coliseum was an extra treat. Here is a promotional video for the show, make sure to see the Sugar Plum Fairy at 34 seconds.
Click here for a quick video of what you can expect.
Billy Elliot Musical at the Victoria Palace Theatre
The musical sensation, which took home 10 Tony awards, including Best Musical, Billy Elliot was outstanding. Who would have thought a story of a boy wanting to be a dancer, would be such a sensation? Maybe, anything Elton John touches, does turn to gold, as the scores were written by him.
The story was beautiful and the delivery of Billy was moving. You really wanted him to succeed. At one point in the performance Ollie Gardner, the 12 year-old actor playing Billy Elliot a mere young boy got hurt and the show was stopped. They had to bring in the understudy, which really is another one of the actors who plays Billy on the other nights. All of us in the audience wondered if Ollie was ok and if this new Billy would be able to pick up where Ollie left off, which was a lot of pressure considering the show had been fantastic.
Sure enough, the other Billy rocked the show just as good and we were all happy to see the boys overcome their small adversity. I have to say my favorite act was “Expressing Yourself” and I have to point out that George Maycock was an outstanding sidekick as Michael, playing Billy’s flamboyant friend. The act was comical and enjoyable. One of the best by far.
Here is the trailer for the show in London, if I still haven’t convinced you enough to go see it. If you need more convincing or feel shy about going to Broadway, rent the movie.
Click here for the Billy Elliot Musical trailer.
Carols by Candle light at the Royal Albert Hall
Christmas Eve and I was humming carols all day long to myself. So going to the annual Royal Alberto Hall carol sing along, seemed right up my ally. Families joined in the magnificent theatre all dressed in Christmas dresses and suits. It was nice to see families coming together, to listen to classic carols. We all took our seats and we were each given a lyrics sheet. This really was a sing along. Accompanied by an orchestra dressed in period costumes and a coed choir, director Steve Devine, kept us on our feet singing along to classics such as O little town of Bethlehem, The first Nowell O come, all ye faithful. Everyone had a great time and really made my Christmas Eve. This is a great performance to be a part of if you are in London during Christmas.
While searching for a video to show you guys, I came across this ridiculously funny video of friends who attended the show and my guess was that they went sauced up, meaning wasted. It looks like they enjoyed the show, even from high above, but hey they had fun.
Click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-s_tF12meY
I hope this gives you a few ideas of what you can do during the holidays. From me to you Merry Christmas!
- La Conquistadora