23 April 2014

Evening of escapism

2/03/2011 11:55:00 a.m.

Royal New Zealand Ballet Tutus on Tour
Opera House, February 24
Reviewed by Deirdre Tarrant

THIS programme is certainly showing the company in marketing mode with a double bill and both of the traditional ‘favourites’(tutus and narrative) onstage.
Verdi Variations is a white tutu ballet complete with mannerisms and staged humour as well as some scintillating footwork. Pinocchio is a story book, danced-pantomime with stunning costumes and stage effects, a good fairy and larger than life animals with human foibles. This was an evening of escapism and fairy floss that opened its tour in a week of devastation and darkness. Speaking from the stage, Acting Director Matz Skoog announced a collection for the earthquake and reminded us of the strong links with Christchurch that the company, past and present, has.
Choreographer, Greg Horsman, set his Verdi Vespers to the ballet sections of two Operas, I Vesper Siciliani and Jerusalem and the music gives the ballet a strong shape and structure on which to anchor some interesting technical sequences and an elegant classical style. Abigail Boyle led the ladies who all showed control and more of a look-at-me ego trip of spins and elevation was allowed for the men and the outstanding performance of the night was from their leader, Qi Huan who stole the show with his solo.
Toby Behan makes his third ballet for the company and his collaboration with designer Julian Southgate uses colour and traditional theatrical set pieces to take us on the story of Pinocchio. The music (Messager’s beautiful Les Deux Pigeons) was lovely and yearned for more movement and breadth. The focus was on telling the story and opportunities to really dance were not indulged.
Snatches of clever choreography for the Fox and Cat and plenty of bravadura for Stromboli worked well and Pierre Doncq as Pinocchio was excellently wooden and managed to engage us as he was by turns, irritating, foolish, contrite, cruel and ultimately a real boy. The costumes and set were wonderful and totally created the visual magic of this allegorical story.

Best of Wellington 2012


  • Making housing affordable 27/03/2013 10:06:00 a.m. With home ownership rates falling and many struggling to play higher rental costs, making housing affordable has risen to the top of the political agenda.
    Joel Pringle, campaign manager for Australians for Affordable Housing, and Charles Waldegrave, from the Family Centre, will address a meeting as part of a public discussion on housing at Thistle Hall on April 8.
    Waldegrave will look at the human faces of housing unaffordability while Pringle will suggest ways to build public support for affordable housing policies in New Zealand.
  • Food to the rescue 27/03/2013 10:06:00 a.m.
    Food rescue organisation, Kaibosh, has been named supreme winner at the TrustPower National Community Awards.
    The Wellington based service group collaborates with food retailers and producers to rescue surplus food that is good enough to eat, but not good enough to sell, preventing it from being discarded into landfills.
    Since its inception in 2008 Kaibosh has rescued over 285,000 meals – that’s 100 tonnes of food redistributed to where it’s needed most.