I have never seen myself as a reviewer before, but I found myself, on the 17.05 East Coast service from Leeds to London King’s Cross, scribbling down notes on the performance in my pocket book and it wouldn’t do harm to share them with you.
Firstly, The Grand is a great venue and the staff are first rate; I’ve never had any problems there. If I had to say something negative it would be that it got got a bit warm up in the Dress Circle, but there isn’t a lot you can do about that!
Over the years I have tried to learn the dancer’s names from the programmes and the cast sheets they put in them, so I was concerned at first that I hardly recognised any, but I needn’t have worried. Mlindi Kulashe, for example, is a new name to me, but he gave a wonderful performance as Peter Pan and I’d be very interested to see what his next role will be with the Northern Ballet. Luke Francis, another name I’m not familiar with, played Peter Pan’s shadow in a scene that I’m sure will prove memorable.
Dreda Blow delivered, not one, but two enthralling performances as Mrs. Darling, the mother of Wendy, John and Michael, and the incredibly graceful Never Bird. I checked my programme in the interval and wasn’t surprise to find that the roles were being performed by one of the company’s Leading Soloists [and that evening I looked through some of my other programmes and I Dreda Blow’s name appeared more than once; most notably in “The Great Gatsby” at The New Theatre in Hull back in 2013].
The Mermaids received a universal gasp of amazement from the Dress Circle as they appeared, shimmering, on the stage [I’m not a big sequin fan, as a rule, but everything has its place and a Mermaids tail is one of those places]. Nana The Dog, played by Olivia Holland, was also well received.
I’m saving the last paragraph for Joeseph Taylor’s performance as both Mr. Darling and Captain Hook. I had never given much thought to either character or how they might relate to each other before that Saturday matinee. The final scene sees the children return home and the children look at their father as if he were Captain Hook and I found it very moving, as did some other audience members within earshot of me on Row F.