Coppelia is certainly one of the latter, with a frothy and entertaining story of a pair of young lovers split up by an all-too-convincing toymaker’s doll, a high-spirited house break, attempted death by magic and – finally – a marriage and presumably happiness ever after.
The Russian State Ballet of Siberia’s thrives on this, with an especially playful first act as the principals Swanilda (Maria Kuimova) and Franz (Ivan Kanaukhov) canoodle and squabble.
Alexander Kuimov resembles a glamrock Witchfinder General as toymaker Dr Coppelius, with a wig (hopefully) as shocking as his costume, turning on the general villainy with glee.
It’s certainly a charming performance and that makes up for some looseness in the corps. Positioning and timing miss occasionally: if you’re going to stamp your feet to the music, you really have to do it in unison.
Kuimova, in contrast, never misses a step; she holds clear lines throughout and is at turns graceful, teasing, and adoring. As the titular Coppelia Yana Tugaeva is almost as strong, her robotic movements made with deceptive ease.
This may not be the most technically adept performance but it is colourful, quick, and full of fun.