Saturday, April 6, 2019

Victoria - A ballet by Cathy Marston

The kitchen drain saga continues, and continues to be a demand on time, patience, and ingenuity. We're apparently waiting for news about insurance and access to some other part of the building this week.

I think Prince Albert probably worried more about drains than Victoria would have done, he seems the micro managing type. Happily it's not an issue the Cathy Marston worries about in 'Victoria'.

This theatre trip was to the altogether local Curve in Leicester. It's a theatre I'd like to go to more so I'm always pleased when something comes up that I actually want to see. Northern Ballet's shows are a definite draw, they've even started to convince my previously ballet ambivalent friend that it's an art worth paying £30+ a seat to see.

'Victoria' is brand new, as good as the reviews say, and absolutely worth catching if you can. It's told from the point of view of Victoria and Albert's youngest child, Beatrice, who Victoria intended to keep with her as a companion. It opens with Victoria as a demanding old woman on the edge of death. She leaves Beatrice with her diaries, which she begins to read.

The scene shifts to the early days of Victoria's widowhood and her growing relationship with John Brown, and becoming Empress of India, before shifting to Beatrice's own courtship with Prince Henry of Battenberg (Liko). Victoria is initially resistant to the idea of losing Beatrice, and though Liko wins her round, his allotted role isn't enough for him so he returns to the army. He dies in Africa.

The scenes that show the relationship between young Beatrice and Liko, with the older Beatrice literally clinging on to him at times, are particularly powerful with both her happiness and loss palpable. It finishes with her anger as she considers how her mothers demands have shaped her life.

The second half explores Victoria's early life, and marriage. The horrors of the Kensington system are alluded to, and so are the fights with Albert, as well as the passion, followed by the sheer grind of almost continuous pregnancy and childbirth. By the end Beatrice has made peace with her memories.

There's so much to enjoy about this - the score is perfect, the performances are excellent, but what I particularly appreciated was the both the focus on Beatrice and the acknowledgement of the complexity of Victoria's personality and relationships, especially how controlling Albert was.


  1. I very much agree with your comments about this ballet. I too, thought it was superb.