Coppelia at The Dancehouse Theatre, Manchester

Coppelia is being performed at the Dancehouse Theatre in Manchester until 8th December, and of course Tortoise Soup was there at the opening night to give you wonderful cultured people the lowdown.


If you are new to ballet then this is an ideal introduction. The Nutcracker, of course, is a traditional Christmas treat but Coppelia also is full of festive charm. Composed by Delibes, the titular character is a doll that has been created by the sinister toymaker Dr Coppelius. Dr Coppelius dreams of nothing more than bringing this doll to life, and when a curious young woman, Swanhilda, and her faithless beau Franz invade his toy shop the dolls come to life one by one.

The Dancehouse Theatre, easily found on Oxford Road, is home to the Manchester City Ballet. They have an excellent roster of young ballet stars, and there were some excellent performances last night. Louis Merlo, in the role of Franz, had the audience on the edge of their seats, he could certainly shine in big parts in the future. Airi Koike was perfect as Swanhilda, her delicate and precise hand placements and captivating smile made the audience warm to her. She not only danced superbly she also acted the role from her heart. I am looking forward to seeing Koike shine in future performances.

It is the first time that I have seen a ballet danced to a pre-recorded soundtrack rather than being accompanied by a live orchestra, but this did not detract from the performance itself. It also ensured that the beautiful Delibes score was note perfect.

Coppelia was a delight, and perfect Christmas entertainment for younger viewers as well. Many of the audience will have gone home wanting to don their tutus and twirl around their parlours. If you have the chance, I would advise you to snap up a ticket to the Dancehouse while you can. This receives four tortoise shells, and is highly recommended.


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