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Merlin is a magical ballet



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Merlin, performed by the Northern Ballet at the Theatre Royal Norwich, is a new ballet from one of the country’s most established dance companies.

Created by Drew McOnie, it is a tour de force for Matthew Koon who plays Merlin - not, as most of us know him (the aged magician), but as a young man, struggling to comprehend his lot in life - not least his amazing, supernatural powers.

There's a lot of storyline here - something the company is known for - and they express their narrative through beautiful classical steps mixed in with some more contemporary movements and all at a cracking pace - this is a show that doesn’t pause from breath!

Antoinette Brooks-Daw, Kevin Poeung, Filippo Di Vilio and Andrew Tomlinson in Merlin (52449617)
Antoinette Brooks-Daw, Kevin Poeung, Filippo Di Vilio and Andrew Tomlinson in Merlin (52449617)

It’s a sort of prequel: we meet his mythical parents, the blacksmith who cares for him, Morgan, the soldier he wants to marry, and we witness a battle between good and evil which needs Merlin and his famous sword, Excalibur, to win.

It’s a visually stunning piece, beautifully lit, and the full 27-piece Sinfonia is marvellous to hear - ballet somehow always needs live music to truly bring it to life.

And do look out for the smoke-breathing dragon who becomes Merlin’s best friend - a lovely addition to the show, and one of the many clever little touches that add that bit extra to the overall picture.

The show continues until Saturday.

Sarah Hardy



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