I feel some more dance and theatre memories coming on! February to June 2004

Eight dance, two theatre

  1. Zipp! – Swan Theatre, High Wycombe, 10th February 2004

A Hundred Musicals for the Price of One went the blurb, and I remember this as being a thoroughly enjoyable show, written by and starring Gyles Brandreth, but also with Andrew C Wadsworth in the cast, whom I cornered in the car park after show and we reminisced about his appearance in Songbook 25 years earlier. An enormously fun piece of musical theatre, a forerunner to the Forbidden Broadway shows of the future, perhaps?

  1. Permanent Revolution V2R – Union Dance at the Swan Theatre, High Wycombe, 9th March 2004

This sounds fascinating – I only wish I can remember it better. “Permanent Revolution V2R sees Union collaborating with media artists Thomas Gray and Derek Richards to create a rich and sensory world where a culture is informed by a multitude of real and virtual migrations. International choreographers Doug Elkins, Vincent Mantsoe and Bawren Tavaziva create a world in which memory and place collide to challenge our notions of identity.” The dancers were Michael Joseph, Garry Benjamin, Galia Delgada, Jedda Donnelly, Simone Noblett and William Thorburn.

  1. Matthew Bourne’s Play Without Words – Swan Theatre, High Wycombe, 24th April 2004

New Adventures’ production of Matthew Bourne’s latest work was a riveting and exciting new show – and it occurs to me I really need to see this again. It took dance down a different path, mingling it with theatre in a very innovative way. Great stuff!

  1. Dance Theatre of Harlem UK Tour – Milton Keynes Theatre, 4th May 2004

A very exciting opportunity to see this world renowned dance company. The first dance was Dougla, choreographed by Geoffrey Holder, followed by Return, choreographed by Robert Garland, and finally, John Taras’ Firebird, set to Stravinsky’s Firebird suite. A large and stunning company danced their socks off. Marvellously entertaining.

  1. Royal New Zealand Ballet UK Tour – Swan Theatre, High Wycombe, 19th and 21st May 2004

The Royal New Zealand Ballet came to the Wycombe Swan as part of their Swan Dance season with two shows – and we saw both! Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet choreographed by Christopher Hampson was the first show, and the second was a Triple Bill – Hampson’s Saltarello, Javier de Frutos’ Milagros and Mark Baldwin’s FrENZy, danced to the music of Split Enz. Very high quality dance, superbly executed. If I remember rightly, the audience numbers were quite low for these shows – their loss!

  1. Fuddy Mears – Arts Theatre, London, 29th May 2004

David Lindsay-Abaire’s highly successful play came to London after a great reception in America but it left British audiences bemused. I’m delighted to say that we were among the few people who really enjoyed it. A chaotic story told brilliantly with a great cast led by Julia McKenzie and Nicholas le Prevost.

  1. Nederlands Dans Theater 2 – Milton Keynes Theatre, 1st June 2004

If NDT2 were in town, then so were we. Their 2004 UK tour started off with Jiri Kylian’s 27’ 52”, followed by Hans van Manen’s Simple Things, and ending with Ohad Naharin’s always show-stopping Minus 16. Brilliant as always.

  1. Bill T Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company – Swan Theatre, High Wycombe, 8th June 2004

Not the catchiest of names for a dance company, but their reputation preceded them and this was another great dance tour show organised by Dance Consortium. We started with Arnie Zane’s The Gift/No God Logic, followed by Mercy 10 x 8 on a Circle, Duet, and D-Man in the Waters (Part 1), all of which were choreographed by Bill T Jones. The company is still going great guns in America.

  1. Dante Sonata/The Two Pigeons – Birmingham Royal Ballet at the Birmingham Hippodrome, 12th June 2004

The first of two summer visits to the Birmingham Royal Ballet, this double bill consisted of Frederick Ashton’s Dante Sonata to the music of Liszt, and Ashton’s two-act Two Pigeons, danced to the music of Andre Messager. The Principal dancers included Iain Mackay, Nao Sakuma, Robert Parker and Molly Smolen.

  1. La Fille Mal Gardée – Birmingham Royal Ballet at the Birmingham Hippodrome, 19th June 2004

One week later we were back for the BRB’s performance of Frederick Ashton’s La Fille Mal Gardée, with Elisha Willis and Chi Cao in the main roles. The BRB could always be relied on to produce stunning shows with great dancing.

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