14-17 October 2015
Reviewed by Angela Milnes
This week I had the opportunity to attend the Northern Ballet dance adaptation of 1984. I have to be honest I wasn’t sure exactly how a ballet could pull off the bleak dystopian novel written by George Orwell, but the performance was amazing and the audience at the Manchester Palace Theatre were thoroughly delighted.
It was opening night and the show began with Winston Smith, a man living in doom and gloom. He purchases a book, a secret diary and records his anti-Big Brother sentiments. The performance then moves on to show robotic workers who work at the Ministry of Truth governed by Big Brother. Then along comes Julia, an elegant beautiful young woman. Her ballet is superb. She gives a note to Winston (Tobias Batley) and the couple begin an affair of love and romance.
The dancing and choreography is superbly executed. The final scene of the first act being my favourite, a joyful depiction of love and an exquisite pas de deux, male, female ballet duet performed by Winston and Julia (Martha Leebolt).
The second act is one of much more intensity, as the themes of disallowed thoughts, anti-party sentiments and robotic workers are captured through the form of ballet. The story builds to the point where Winston and Julia are arrested by the thought police.
Taken to the Ministry of Love to be tortured, the ballet becomes electric and intensified. My second favourite scene is when Winston recalls his experiences of love and Julia superbly performs dancing as if a memory from the past.
The story inevitably ends in doom and gloom. Winston is beaten and tortured and finally gives in to the powers of Big Brother. He betrays his love for Julia and becoming controlled by Big Brother.
The Northern Ballet performance was an excitement to watch. The score created by Alex Baranowski keeps the audience on edge. This was a wonderful performance. The dancers executing the performance perfectly and the whole experience was a delight.
1984 is one ballet not to be missed. A Brilliant performance by world class dancers. This is one show which will not disappoint.
Tickets cost from £14.40 to £42.90 (plus £4 transaction fee).
Northern Ballet’s 1984 is at the Palace Theatre in Manchester until 17 October 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 871 3019.
Palace Theatre, 97 Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 6FT | 0844 871 3019