Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Toy Story Brings a Joy to All the Ages

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Toy Story Brings a Joy to All the Ages

Article excerpt

Byline: CLIFFORD BISHOP

MAGICAL NIGHT/ALETTA COLLINS/NEW DANCE THEATRE Linbury Studio, WC2 SIX years before he wrote The Threepenny Opera with Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill's first big success was, of all things, a children's pantomime. It was thought to have been lost when Weill fled Nazi Germany, until an edition turned up again recently in a Yale University vault.

The music of Magical Night slinks and darts between silent film score urgency and Weimar cabaret sophistication, and its unexpected angles have been translated by choreographer Aletta Collins into an excuse for mischief. There is a sly wink to the grown-up audience's expectations when Yvette Bonner's Pink Fairy, about to bring a chest of toys to life, sings that she wants to see them "break out their chains". But any fear that this is going to be an evening of operatic in-jokes aimed over the children's heads soon vanishes, and Magical Night proves to be anarchically entertaining.

Collins doesn't fall into the trap of assuming that the concept or the costumes will do all the work. …

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