Dance: Super furry animals
Saturday 22 November 1997
There she sat: pink and white cheeks, golden curls, stiff organza party frock complete with shiny plastic tiara and wand screaming blue murder at the top of her squeaky little voice: "It's a thtupid, thtupid, thtupid film". Only one thing to do really (short of a more brutal and rather more thatisfying solution), and the offending child is carried bodily from the auditorium still loudly voicing its displeasure.
In theory, a Christmas ballet is the choreographic equivalent of a Kinder Egg: you get a toy (dancing furry animals and soldiers), a chocolate (a large box of Maltesers on the infant lap) and a surprise (the large bill for four stalls seats and infinite quantities of ice-cream). In fact, not every child is suited to an afternoon sat in a darkened room in total silence with a blanket ban on fidgeting. Anyone who has ever attended a modern wedding will know that the decline in church-going, combined with modern teaching methods, means that the average under-eight-year- old is only completely still and quiet during the hours of darkness (and not always then).
But you can be lucky. I've taken angelic three-year-olds to Birmingham Royal Ballet's Nutcracker and the potent combination of vicious rats, flying geese and magic tricks holds them spellbound. The trick is to tell them the story over and over again, and play the music a lot in the car. When you get to the theatre, let them see the calibre of ice-cream that Good Children will be eating in the interval and you're laughing.
Next question. Which ballet? Children are reliably enchanted by the Royal Ballet's Tales of Beatrix Potter (above) which features the company's finest, thickly upholstered in fur fabric, prancing about to a medley of Victorian tunes. Meanwhile, stretching itself luxuriously on the Coliseum stage, the English National Ballet hopes to clean up with a delightful new production of The Nutcracker which has dancing, Liquorice Allsorts and, of course, dancing Liquorice Allsorts.
Royal Ballet: Tales of Beatrix Potter (in a double bill with either `Peter and the Wolf' or Ashton's `Les Patineurs'), Royal Festival Hall (0171-304 4000) 23 Dec-3 Jan. English National Ballet: `The Nutcracker', London Coliseum (0171-632 8300) 8 Dec-10 Jan.
Life & Style blogs
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers
Airline food across the classes: Ever wondered what the other half are eating?
Coachella Festival 2015: from Kendall Jenner to Alexa Chung, stars and festival-goers parade their boho best
What do the emoji on Snapchat mean?
Huawei P8 review: best phones nobody's seen from the biggest company nobody's heard
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 2 Ben Affleck asked TV chiefs to hide slave-owning ancestry, new hacked Sony emails published by Wikileaks claim
- 3 Driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as drink driving, study suggests
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
- 5 One Direction: Louis Tomlinson launching his own record label, has already 'signed two acts'
£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...