Thursday, 27 December 2007

Ballet Shoes?

My mother's response to the recent TV version of Ballet Shoes, the 1936 book by Noel Streatfeild:

They'd crammed the whole book into less than 90 minutes and so the opening events, although reasonably authentic, were whizzed through bewilderingly quickly. From then on it got silly. For some reason they hadn't seen fit to engage a double cast of the 3 heroines, so we saw them arriving one by one as orphan babies and the next minute they're strapping teenagers, attending for the first time the theatrical academy which, in the book, was when they were small children. A ballet class was briefly shown, with a load of girls in ridiculous net skirts jumping up and down in the most unballetic fashion. The youngest heroine, Posy, who goes on to be a famous ballerina (ergo the book's title) had obviously never had a ballet lesson in her life and in this drama school there wasn't a single boy to be seen. I lasted till a non-heroine was giving a professional audition, with her teacher saying proudly in the background that she was the most talented girl in the school, and there she was singing excruciatingly and staggering about en pointe like a lame heron. I switched off and went to bed. Incidentally the comedienne Victoria Wood played the girls' nanny, rather well, but they'd given her an enveloping grey wig and one reviewer, who'd seen a preview, commented that she looked like Worzel Gummidge.

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