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3rd time lucky for Coppelia - A Mystery

Updated: Jul 23, 2021

Coppelia - A Mystery Adapted and Directed by Theresa Heskins

Review by David Bithell for Radio Kiln

This was 3rd time lucky for this show at The New Vic. It was supposed to be the Christmas production during Winter 2020 but due to the pandemic and lockdown it was then supposed to be an Easter production this year, again fell at the final hurdle. But here we are now, re-imagined for the Summer, and you know what, good things come to those who wait.

This was the first time we had attended the theatre since the pandemic and my partner was apprehensive of what to expect, how many people were attending and how it was going to work. When we arrived at the Coppelia archway, we were greeted by the amazing Dominic Webber. He immediately put Victoria's mind at ease, explained how the show was going to work, approximate attendees and what to expect. He is an absolute credit to the theatre. Thank you Dominic!

As we made our way along the path, you reach these wooden huts packed with props from the play, a Dr Coppelius workshop and much much more without giving too much away.

You then walk across a wooden bridge and below you can see a host of Victorian shops before you reach the mysterious Dr Coppelius' toy shop.

Photo credit - Victoria Platt

The show - directed by the New Vic's artistic director, Theresa Heskins, and is an adaption of the 19th century ballet, Coppélia.

Coppelia is played out by its talented cast, which includes Corinna Brown as Swanhilde, Michael Hugo as Dr Coppelius, Kira McPherson as Coppelia and Farhaan Shah as Armadeus.

This is Corinna Brown's professional stage debut, and you wouldn't know with her energetic performance and cheeky laugh. Corinna's character Swanhilde, sets the scene and takes us on this mysterious journey and after small dialogue, leads the audience into the recently refurbished theatre auditorium.

Newly refurbished New Vic Theatre

It felt amazing to get back inside and witness at first hand the amazing work that has been done to seating area.

It is there where the story unfolds.

Image courtesy of The New Vic

We see the show through Swanhilde's eyes as we are hiding and witnessing first hand the secret life of Dr Coppelius and what's hidden within the toy shop.

New Vic favourite Michael Hugh plays Dr Coppelius, the designer and creator of one particular doll, Coppelia which is extremely lifelike, there's something striking about the eyes.

There's an interesting backstory about him, and especially the doll and around the eyes, all will be revealed.

I was very impressed with Kira McPherson who also makes her professional stage debut, plays Coppelia, the lifelike doll who was fantastic at robotics and her ballerina style dancing. Swanhilde is one of her biggest fans.

The talented Farhaan Shah who plays Amadeus completes the lineup and you might remember him from The Prince and The Pauper from the previous festive play.

Image courtesy of The New Vic

One of the key things I took from the play is, that kids make mistakes, its how they learn from them makes the difference.

This is a must see play for all ages, and one which is a first at The New Vic where you see the play outside and within the auditorium.

Coppelia - A Mystery is at The New Vic Theatre until Saturday 7th August.

Box office 01782 717 962


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