Review | ‘Coppélia’ is a fun-filled jape that will have you laughing

WA Ballet: Coppélia | His Majesty’s Theatre | Until Sat 25th September | ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Coppélia is one of the most performed ballets in the world, and undoubtedly the funniest work amongst the art form’s greatest hits.

We last saw the West Australian Ballet perform this work back in 2016, but this outing seems to have ramped up the comedy and some brilliant performances have taken it up a notch from the last viewing.

The classic story sees Dr Coeppélius mourning the death of his daughter, locking himself away in house and rarely interacting with the other folk of the town. He’s built a mechanical doll which looks like his late daughter and it sits on the balcony of his home.

Swanhilda and her friend Mary are intrigued by the girl sitting on the balcony, they wave to her but she doesn’t respond. The girl on the balcony also get the attention of Swanhilda’s boyfriend Franz, and when he looks up her she comes to life, lowering her book and blowing a kiss in her direction. Swanhilda naturally is not impressed to discover her boyfriend’s flirting.

The teenagers of the town break into the home of Dr Coeppélius, and discover his world of mechanical dolls, and that the girl they had seen on the balcony is entirely mechanical. When the doctor returns home he chases the girls out of his home, later he catches Franz and connects him up to a machine that draws his lifeforce, bringing all the dolls to life.

Swanhilda swaps places with the doll of Dr Coeppélius’s daughter, leading him to believe that the doll has come to life, and some truly comical scenes follow. Later the ruse is unveiled and Dr Coeppélius is left heartbroken and angry at the town’s children.

This production choreographed Greg Horsman, with a nod to previous versions by Arthur Saint-Léon and Marius Petipa, relocates the action to colonial South Australia, giving this delivery of the oft-told tale a distinctly Australian flavour.

Candice Adea is hilarious in the leading role of Swanhilda, not only does she dance up a storm, she’s got the much needed comic timing to truly bring this role to life. Julio Blanes leaps and spins across the stage embodying the part of Franz.

There’s also brilliant turns Matthew Lehmann as Dr Coeppélius, he nails the part. Dayana Hardy Acuna deserves a special award for her outstanding facial expressions, and her pas de deux with Oscar Valdes is one of the many highlights of the performance. There’s also a lovely moment of hilarity delivered by Brent Carson playing Scotsman Jock McTaggart – it had me laughing out loud.

Even if you’ve seen this production before, grab a ticket and go see it again because this cast really shine in their roles and it’s a whole lot of fun.

Graeme Watson

Tickets for the remaining performances are selling fast

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