Saturday, 23 January 2016

'Mr Wonderful' at Sadler's Wells

Jonathan Ollivier died last summer on his way to his last performance in Matthew Bourne's 'The Car Man' at Sadler's Wells. Monday evening saw the gala performance of his friends and colleagues to celebrate his life and raise funds for a trust fund for his children. 'Mr Wonderful - A Celebration of Jonathan Ollivier's Life In Dance' was held at Sadler's Wells and hosted by Sir Matthew Bourne. I hope his wife and children were there since it was a great night and a great tribute to him.

It was hosted by New Adventures and Northern Ballet with Sadler's Wells so we were treated to scenes from various productions, some of which Jonathan had danced in. The title of the show - 'Mr Wonderful ' - came from a short piece that Matthew Bourne choreographed 25 years ago ( and danced in) to the song of the same name sung by Peggy Lee. Out of the six dancers, four were former Princes from 'Swan Lake' and one was the Swan - that's a great ensemble in anyone's book! It was great fun to see it, funny and precise, and it should be seen often.

There were scenes from some of Matthew Bourne's shows including 'Sleeping Beauty', 'Play Without Words' and 'The Car Man' with a film of Jonathan in 'Spitfire', Rambert did two brilliant pieces 'Hidden' and 'Gypsy Souls', Marcelo Gomes danced to the thrilling violin playing of Charles Yang in 'Paganini' and Northern Ballet gave us the terribly romantic 'Wuthering Heights' and a scene from 'Saphire'. A great piece from the Michael Clark Company was the edgy 'come, been and gone' to 'The Jean Genie' by David Bowie with Mick Ronson's guitar shrieking at the walls as the dancers strode around the stage. There was a lot more and we even had the Temptations from the new show 'Motown' singing 'My Girl'.

The evening ended, of course, with 'Swan Lake', with the Swan and the Prince, the daft swans dancing to the Sugar-Plum Fairy sequence and getting great laughs and applause and it was lovely to see those excerpts from a great work. It ended with the swans all sitting on the stage with their backs to the audience and we saw Jonathan dance on the screen at the back of the stage, ending with his triumph. How touching. And when the swans started clapping and giving their tribute, so we all stood for a standing ovation as the other dancers joined them on stage and it went on and on.

Sir Matthew Bourne had mentioned earlier in the evening that tickets sales had already raised £65,000 to set up a trust fund for Jonathan's sons and invited us to text donations and you can donate at

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