David Roland and Ashley Evans take a comic turn in Ballet Etoile’s Coppelia. Photo contributed

REVIEW: Ballet Etoile scores comic triumph with Coppelia

Victoria professional company produces a fine ensemble piece

By Steve and Jayne Weatherbe

Special to Monday Magazine

Ballet Etoile, Victoria’s feisty little professional ballet company, staged a tiny masterpiece of comedy highlighted by several artistic tours de force. Sadly, few came to see Coppelia at the Dave Dunnett Theatre at Oak Bay High and one performance was cancelled.

As for those of us who did come, we saw a fine ensemble piece with very competent contributions from girls from several local dance schools, impressive solos from one or two of the youngsters and the usual brilliance from Amalia Schelhorn, a former National Ballet member and teacher at several schools in Victoria, in a supporting role.

David Roland also did a fine comic turn in the key role of Dr. Coppelius, a dotty rather than a mad scientist who builds life-sized wind-up figures that sit, mostly immobile, in his shop.

Ian Szkolak playing Franz, the male lead, falls for one comely automaton whom he takes for Coppelius’s daughter, demonstrating focused physicality, grace and bashful charm as he attempts to win the heart of the inanimate girl, ending up drugged and trapped by the malicious doctor instead.

But Franz is betrothed to the lovely village lass, Swanhilda, who dramatically spurns him for chasing Coppelia, then sneaks into Dr. Coppelius’s workshop to discover the truth about his “daughter,” leading a trio of village girls.

It is Ashley Evans as Swanhilda who makes this ballet such a triumph. Ms. Evans is a wonderfully limber, graceful and expressive dancer, but she is much more. She is the choreographer and director of this piece, founder of Ballet Etoile, and, rumour has it, she also sews some of the costumes. Her face is wonderfully expressive too, and she hams it up hilariously with Roland’s Dr. Coppelius in his workshop, where she impersonates his prize doll in order to rescue Franz.

Everyone involved should be proud and every ballet fan who missed it should resolve to make Ballet Etoile’s next show July 29 and 30 at Butchart Gardens.

Just Posted

ROCK THE SHORES 2018: A variety of musical flavours throughout weekend in Colwood

Headliners Brian Wilson, Sheepdogs and X Ambassadors part of diverse lineup festival

Slow year for film productions on the West Shore

Local film commission says there’s still been lots of interest

Additional buses added for Rock the Shores

Colwood Transit Exchange closed at night, passengers directed to Island Highway instead

ON FILM: Planet of the Dinos returns

Reviewer Robert Moyes offers his take on Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

ISLANDS FOLK FEST: Folk is in the air in Duncan

Three days of quality entertainment coming to Providence Farm

WATCH: Trades workers brought into spotlight at Victoria’s Inner Harbour

Sheet metal, roofing apprentices compete for national bragging rights

Reviews are in for B.C.-shot ‘Skyscraper’ action movie

City’s film liaison recalls four days of filming at city hall last fall, with Dwayne Johnson on set

B.C. singer up against Shania Twain for Canadian country music award

Madeline Merlo and Shania Twain are two of five nominees for female artist of the year.

Nicolas Cage films in B.C. town

Hollywood actor filming A Score to Settle in North Okanagan

Canadian actress Sandra Oh makes Emmys history with ‘Killing Eve’ nomination

Oh made history as the first Asian woman to be nominated for an Emmy Award for lead actress in a drama series.

Mexican culture comes alive during Festival Mexicano

Free two-day festival happens this weekend in Victoria’s Centennial Square

NEW FESTIVAL: Vegans of Victoria unite

First ever Vegtoria features all things vegan, July 21 in Centennial Square

Victoria lotto winner looking forward to Mexican holiday with family

Angella Gordon-Spence won weekly $1,000 payday for 25 years on Set for Life scratch game

Justin Bieber confirms engagement to American model Hailey Baldwin

Bieber confirmed the engagement in an Instagram post Monday, July 9, 2018, that included a photo of Baldwin kissing him.

Most Read