The Three Musketeers
Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Wed 7-Sat 10 Mar
Northern Ballet Theatre have long been renowned for their atypical productions and for injecting realism and contemporary movement into ballet. In his six years as artistic director, however, David Nixon has refocused NBT’s repertoire on grand-scale spectacle, from Gothic excess in Dracula and Wuthering Heights to the upcoming Sleeping Beauty Tale set on an alien planet, and the current touring production of The Three Musketeers, which arrives in Scotland after an English tour last autumn. Alexandre Dumas’ swashbuckling story of chivalry, loyalty and cavalier Cavaliers might seem better suited to a Saturday matinee with Errol Flynn than an evening at the ballet, but Nixon is adamant that this is nothing unusual for the company. ‘We’re combining theatre entertainment with high quality dancing. This is something NBT strives to do - that’s the way we try to be more accessible,’ he says. A sweeping, cinematic score specially composed by the late Sir Malcolm Arnold (who wrote the music for Bridge On the River Kwai), and an intensive programme of sword-fight training for the dancers certainly seems to indicate that the story of these Musketeers will be more action-adventure than pas de trois.
Nixon is clearly excited about the fight scenes. He says,’[The swordfighting] has proved very popular with the company. It’s a fun story and a fun night.’