Theatre review: Angelina Ballerina's Big Audition, Aotea Centre

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Angelina Ballerina by the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Photo / Patrick Baldwin
Angelina Ballerina by the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Photo / Patrick Baldwin

The set design, while fittingly quaint, does not quite fill the Aotea Centre's broad stage and the recorded music is blasted out at volume. But Angelina Ballerina and her prancing mouselings more than match the expectations of the hundreds of girls and sprinkling of boys who turn out.

The well-constructed story line is easy to follow. Key points are emphasised early on - Angelina's invitation to audition at the Camembert Academy is writ large for example. Trillian, aged 8, and 6-year-old Connor keep up easily with every nuance of the narrative - like the fact that friend Alice has mixed emotions about her bestie moving on. And there is no mistaking the actions of naughty Henry and his interference with the music during Angelina's practice of the Sugar Plum Fairy steps for her audition dance.

Trillian thinks the show would be best enjoyed by 3-year-olds and up - but younger children sitting around us are absorbed.

The mouse head masks are masterful. Connor remarks that they look "knitted". And while they present a static facial expression, skilful tilts of heads, emphasised by the big mouse ears, convey a wide range of expressions. The big rubbery, rodent tails, which must be another considerable challenge to the dancers, also provide another means of expression, from a casual arch and bounce, to some excitable twirling.

With two acts of less than half an hour each and a 20-minute interval, there is no time for even the littlies to get restless. The dance is full on and energetic, and there are enough gags to engage the boys - look out for that large, black animated spider.

The second act is a little slow to get started and the audition performances that include contemporary, Irish, tap, jazz, flamenco and hip-hop style fall a little flat.

But who cares about that really, when Angelina survives the awful waiting to hear she is in. And then, as a bonus, Alice arrives with her invitation to audition as well.

REVIEW

What: Angelina Ballerina's Big Audition.
Where: Aotea Centre until tomorrow and the Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna, until Sunday.
Reviewer: Bernadette Rae with Trillian and Connor Spavin-Little.

- Herald on Sunday

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