Finally Friday

"look.. Look! LOOK!! guys from the orchestra look oo he's cute oh wait a minute, no he's not so cute up close oh no actually um ew."
"they're orchestra guys! they don't call it a pit for nothing"

I miss Alex Wagner.

The New Zealand Ballet company performed Madame Butterfly last night at the Aotea Centre and we sat in Stalls/Row T. The seats were great. The scenery, lighting and music were spectacular - I swear, the stage sets and lighting trickery that goes into the NZBallet productions are never less than stunning. If I'd been to more shows overseas I'd say "leading the world in set design and staging" but I haven't so I won't (but I bet I'm right).

I found the dancers lightweight though. Is that a terrible thing to say about people who work so hard by someone who needs at least three naps a day?

Lieutenant Pinkerton, danced by Douglas McCubbin just seemed shakey and a bit all-over-the-place. I'm sure I was *supposed* to think him dashing and passionate. I wasn't at all convinced he was anything other than a complete cad (the character not the dancer) a pervy American soldier just trying to get himself a bit of Japanese kimono. He needs a hair cut too (the dancer not the character) all those blonde curls detract from his body line and make him look cluttered.

Amy Fote danced Butterfly. If she'd been any smaller she would have floated away. Her tiny frame and delicate hands seemed perfect but again, something was lost in translation.

To be honest, it felt like it should have been a matinee, not an evening performance. And as I say that I realise, that's exactly what the problem was - these dancers were the matinee cast. Originally, Craig Lord and Jane Turner had rehearsed these roles, but shortly before the season started, Lord sustained an injury and had to retire from the role.

Turner was then to dance with his understudy, Geordan Wilcox but then decided she would rather not dance at all in her last performance before retirement. In stepped Yu Takayama, Turner's understudy. So I'm thinking, McCubbin/Fote got bumped up to evening performance leaving Wilcox/Takayama to the matinees.

Ahh.. soo.

Well, I want to see Wilcox and Takayama dance Madame Butterfly but I doubt I have time to get to a matinee before the season ends here on Sunday.

Have to say, the theatre was full. The Ballet's ability to put bums on seats is a credit to the shows they put on for us. Truly, you have to see the staging to believe it. Simple, stunning - I mean, the staging gets applause all by itself most performances. Clever clever stage designers and crew.

I miss Alex Wagner.

I know the ache will dull with time but I also know it's going to take as long, if not longer than it took for me to move on from River Phoenix's death [ok i know i've not fully moved on from that either but I'm getting there] Not that Wagner has died of course but, being half a planet away I doubt I'll ever see him dance again and the stage is pale without him.