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
What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
Why you should never make assumptions about people with autism
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
From criminal to catwalk: Convict Jeremy Meeks wins modelling contract in the most unusual fashion scouting – behind bars
Holi: Festival of colours honoured with Google Doodle – here's what you need to know about the celebration
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Elif Shafak: Turkish author warns against rise of British nationalism
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
- 1 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 2 Indian woman creates 'Marriage CV' after parents put her on dating site: 'Definitely not marriage material. Won’t grow long hair, ever'
- 3 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 GamerGate: developer Tim Schafer provokes rage with joke about online gaming activists at industry awards
£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...
£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...
£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...
£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...