The Natalie van de Braam directed and choreographed production of Coppelia with Delibes wonderful music was an evening of radiance at Garter Lane. The young dancers of the De Braam School Of Dance And Theatre Arts performed with such enthusiasm and charm and time and again I was impressed by splendid set pieces.
The pastoral setting was well caught in a set by Dominic Boyle and Tanya Boyle with Bernie Laherty as Scenic Artist. Paul Brown’s lighting created a wonderful glow and tranquillity and Natalie van de Braam was responsible for the wonderful array of colourful and appropriate costumes.
Marie McGrath was among the opening village scene as Des Manahan was introduced as the strange doll maker Dr. Coppelius. Throughout this show Des shone with charm, experience and it was a joy to see him dance with style and light-footed vigour. What an inspiration he is.
He introduced his life-sized doll Coppelia, played with precision by Shaune Parle. The young and delightful lovers Swanhilda and Franz arrived and took the performance to another plane of quality and entertainment. Glenn Murphy was an exciting Franz and his acting and reactions added much to the enjoyment. But star of the show was Shauna Ridgard as Swanhilda; she had passion and fire, anger and charm and her work throughout the show was excellent and splendid.
A gypsy scene was wonderful with Katelyn Cassidy, Rachel Brennan, Aisling Brennan and Kate Honan in fine form. Nick Bankes was charming as the Burgomeister and he later brought impish wit to the role of Duke. Geraldine Guiry was a lovely Duchess who kept the sense of dignity right throughout a mostly static setting. A Dance Of The Hours got the second half off to a wonderful pace. Shannon Phelan was a glorious Mother Time and Natasha Corballis was a fine Dawn.
Portia van de Braam was radiant and wonderful in The Call To Prayer with Niamh Kelly and Eimear Walsh as Altar Servers.
Ashley Egan and Aisling Finnegan led us into a Work sequence before the excellent Village Wedding with a fine performance from Doireann Chapman. Niamh Malone was Cupid and Siobhan Ryan shone as Spirit Of festivities.
A colourful finale was cleverly executed and brought the lights down on an evening of pleasure and quality.