The Secret Theatre Christmas Special

Location: Scottish Ballet - Tramway Arts Centre, Glasgow, Scotland

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By Tim Saunders

To try to reproduce the theatre experience online is an absolutely massive challenge. But it is one that Scottish Ballet achieves with remarkable success during its hour-long performance of The Secret Theatre, available online until 11.59pm on December 24.

A boy bounces his basketball around deserted streets and makes his way through town to an eerily empty theatre, where once inside, he evades a security guard and his torchlight. Once on stage the production begins with the dancers slowly rising out of their boxes. A crick of a neck here and flexing of the muscles there; it’s thoroughly magical. And what about the muscular dancer who does press-ups with a dancer on his back?! The introduction of a circus theme nicely keeps the momentum.

Sat comfortably on our living room sofa we watch mesmerised as the dancing begins. Even Henry (4) is awestruck. There’s a lot of fun to be had here and some excellent special effects. The white sheets magically move across the stage to seamlessly create the snow scene. The sleigh moves across the floor. The boy flies through the air and the ballerina on top of the Christmas tree bursts into life, becoming a real dancer. The dancing is incredible; lots of pirouettes and extremely accomplished moves, as you would expect from Scottish Ballet.

We discover that the boy we were introduced to at the start has superb ball control; he nonchalantly spins it for sometime on his finger and towards the end his older self performs eye-caching dance moves. As presents are lavished upon the young boy there is clapping and we all join in as we once did when we had that great luxury of attending an actual theatre.

There is precision throughout this performance both from the ballerinas and the orchestra. A joy to watch, the viewer forgets their troubles and leaves feeling completely and utterly happy and inspired. No sooner is it over than the children practice their ballet and Harriett (9) treads on daddy’s toe as he writes this article!

The sign of an absolutely superb production. You must watch it and if you’re able to, make a donation. We are so very lucky to have such talent in this country.

Star rating

4 gold stars

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