On Your Toes, Royal Festival Hall, London
Friday 08 August 2003
Given that Natalia Makarova was the star of this show's last London production, it might seem odd for Adam Cooper's name to head the company list this time, but why worry? He has, after all, a bigger personality than most dancers: picked out early by Sylvie Guillem as her partner, chosen to create the male swan in Matthew Bourne's big hit Swan Lake, and featured as the grown-up Billy Elliott in that famous film.
Is there nothing the man can't do? Well, On Your Toes shows up quite a few more that he can do. As Junior Dolan, ex-hoofer turned into music teacher and finally ballet dancer, he gets to talk, to sing, and to reveal a hitherto hidden aspect of his dancing skills: tap. He sings pretty well, and his acting of what is basically a one-dimensional character gives the role conviction and charm.
Cooper shares the performing honours with his wife, Sarah Wildor, and Irek Mukhamedov; both of them, like him, former stars of the Royal Ballet. Wildor, playing the ballerina heroine, has to cope with a heavy Russian accent, and gets her jokes across every time in spite of that (her dancing jokes too). As for Mukhamedov, the role of her partner is a wonderful one for him - a part that could go for very little, but he makes it a real hit all the time.
Adam Cooper is involved in another way with this production: as choreographer. The title song, treated as a big ensemble number, is great, and the "Princesse Zenobia'' spoof ballet gets its full share of laughs, not least for Cooper's portrait of a stand-in dancer getting everything wrong.
Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart devised the show and wrote marvellous, unforgettable music for it that comes up as bright, fresh and irresistible as ever.
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
- 3 Scottish referendum 'English question': Tory MPs call on David Cameron to create an English first minister in wake of No vote
- 4 Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea's 'Booty' music video is just a load of butts
Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written
Friends 20th anniversary: The highs and lows of the cast's careers since TV series ended in 2004
Doctor Who, Time Heist, review: Keeley Hawes is marvellous but the Doctor is the real villain
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'