Written for The Wonderful World of Dance
8th August 2014, Richmond Theatre
The perfect afternoon treat for children, teaching them the wonders of dance – Angelina Ballerina The Mousical is a high energy, educational and magical extravaganza.
The small cast of six, one of which playing three characters – Angelina’s best friend Alice, the teacher and TV presenter – do their best to keep us entertained throughout. Audience participation has everyone up on their feet cheering and clapping, with a few toddlers taking to the aisles and spinning out their finest pirouettes.
The story follows Angelina and her friends at Camembert Academy being selected to perform on TV, as part of a special episode of Dancing With Mice. Angelina is chosen to be dance captain and she has to get everyone together to create ‘the best dance ever’, learning that nothing can be done without teamwork and that you should not be afraid to ask for help.
Giving us flavours of jazz, salsa, ballet and hip-hop Angelina Ballerina – The Mousical is surely inspirational for an aspiring, young boy or girl wanting to enter the world of dance. Mouselings Gracie and Viki wave their best jazz hands, kicking their legs past their ears and AJ and Marco shake their hips, freestyle and even throw in a shoulder stand.
Unfortunately the show conforms to gender stereotypes, emphasising that ballet is for girls and hip-hop is for boys. When Angelina and friends are creating their performance a musical number explodes out of clashing ideas, the boys wanting to do one thing and the girls another. AJ and Marco want to dress up as superheroes, monsters and astronauts while Gracie and Viki want to parade around as butterflies, princesses and all things glittery. Perhaps these values are a bit dated in what is meant to be an era of acceptance.
Bar from some of these archaic principles the Mousical was full of catchy show tunes. The cast is also to be commended, executing Matthew Cole’s choreography with charm and poise. Joanna Gregory, who played Angelina, tackled the difficult feat of singing whilst floating like a true ballerina – constantly on demi-pointe and extending through luscious arabesques.
Not one child left the theatre without jumping in delight and whether you are trying to distract your child from summertime boredom or feel like reliving your youth definitely couru over to a theatre near you as Angelina Ballerina continues to tour the country.