It’s not often I walk away from a children’s performance feeling as if it hasn’t quite reached out to its target audience, but Angelina Ballerina – The Mousical was a disappointment for both me and for my four-year old.
The music was cheery enough, the performers skilful, the sets clever, yet it seemed to be lacking in soul. When I asked the test audience if they liked it, the answer was “no”, but perhaps other audiences might feel differently.
The story revolves around Angelina and her friends at the Camembert Academy. They have been lucky enough to win an opportunity to appear in their favourite TV program, Dancing With Mice.
Angelina is chosen as Dance Captain to co-ordinate their efforts, but the girls and the boys have very different ideas for the show. The boys want dragons and hip-hop, while the girls like sparkles and ballet. Herein lies my main gripe: surely we have moved on from such rigid stereotypes by now? But no, not at all; this seems to be accepted as fact.
In the end, there is a compromise, where Angelina lets them all, boys and girls, lend the performance some of their ideas. The message that we should all work together to achieve the best results is, of course, an admirable one, but I think the entire musical could have been greatly improved with a bit more verve, originality and humour.
Angelina Ballerina – The Mousical is at the Dunstan Playhouse until January 5.
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