LCB2 Tour: Adapting Nanny McPhee

Posted on Tuesday 27th May, 2014

Before dust could settle on a single Nanny McPhee costume, they were straight into the laundry and freshly pressed in preparation for our busy outreach season. Within days of the final curtain dropping at the Peacock Theatre, LCB2 Tour Director Victoria Collinson was sitting in front of a wide angle recording of the ballet, going over the music and choreography in order to work out how to compress 90 minutes of complex narrative ballet into a 30-minute abridged version suitable for LCB2’s audiences.

“It was a daunting task,” Victoria explains. “When I saw the ballet and started to think how I could adapt it to a 30-minute performance, I thought, ‘This is going to be really difficult.’ There are so many characters and a lot of story to tell.” Nanny McPhee is fast-paced and humorous, requiring strong acting skills from the dancers and good comic timing. It also has many characters, which makes the ballet ideal for the main company but a considerable challenge for the tours, where each touring company is made up of 12 dancers. “For the tour I’m working with a much smaller company and the children also tend to be a bit younger. So choreographing scenes for the Brown children and the puppies was relatively simple but we have had to cut down on some adult characters like Aunt Adelaide.”

The prospect of adapting the choreography turned out to be more daunting than the reality. “We are in the middle of rehearsals right now and it’s turning out really well. I was keen to keep in as many of the fun elements of Erico’s choreography as possible. The tricks that the Brown children play on their nannies have actually been relatively easy to replicate in the tour choreography.” Having heard the screams of delight from children in the audience watching nannies fall foul of the Brown children’s ghoulish pranks, they will undoubtedly be just as popular with LCB2 tour audiences.

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