The Northern Ballet’s performances of Cathy Marston’s Victoria at Cardiff’s New Theatre are taking on special significance this week, as they coincide with the 200th anniversary of the Monarch’s birth on May 24th.
Told through the eyes of Victoria’s youngest daughter, Beatrice, the ballet retells pivotal moments of Victoria’s extraordinary life. As Beatrice thumbs through a lifetime of journals, she takes the audience on a journey of discovery as she reveals Victoria – the wife, mother, lover and Empress.
From the offset, Victoria captivates the audience with dramatic movement reminiscent of a Victorian era silent movie. Philip Feeney’s score (performed with boldness and balance by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia and conducted by Daniel Parkinson) compliments the flow and choreography of the production beautifully.
Abigail Prudames brings Victoria to life through the medium of dance on stage. Balancing the light of victory with the shade of loneliness, Miss Prudames presents her take on the iconic monarch with a regal but dynamic flair.
Complimenting Miss Prudames is Pippa Moore as Victoria’s daughter and companion, Beatrice, whose energetic presentation frequently engages with the lead and recurring characters of the piece. No doubt, her most compelling moment is (along with her younger self – portrayed by Miki Akuta) learning of the death, in battle of her husband, Liko (portrayed with captivating fun by Sean Bates) and her outpouring of emotion.
The arrival of Joseph Taylor’s Prince Albert literally sweeps Miss Prudames Victoria off her feet. From Victoria and Albert’s majestic wedding march via the meticulously choreographed comedic arrival of nine children, to Albert’s final moments, Taylor and Prudames’ on-stage chemistry proves to be a match made in heaven.
Contemporary while retaining a classical air, I found Victoria compelling from start to finish and among some of the finest ballet I have ever witnessed. The productions simple backdrop of a beautifully lit library complimented the company’s performance resulting in a majestic presentation.
Victoria continues at Cardiff’s New Theatre until May 25, 2019