Seven ballets and a farce.

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Seven ballets and a farce.

Postby Barry » Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:41 am

Various places from the Lowry to the Birmingham Hippodrome, September 2017

Yep seven ballets in a week is a bit excessive, but inspiring and depressing and frustrating. Aladdin was ravishing as I have written about, but then I saw a Rambert triple bill. One with the lovely idea of a couple dancing their relationship, whilst the ensemble danced their true anguish. Another one was about light and speed and was simply exhilarating. But they saved the best for last. This is one of my three favourite pieces, Ghost Dances, and has been around for thirty years or so, and I have been lucky enough to catch it fairly often. Everything about it is perfect, from the moody lighting, to the score, the shapes, and those wonderfully disturbing and erotic ghosts. Then I went to Birmingham to see BRB in a perfect triple bill, and had to waste a ticket as I could not get anyone interested. First up was concerto, to that glorious Shostakovich, and oh what patterns and colours and elegance. The last ballet was my much loved ragtime romp, Elite Syncopations. Utter joy, but sandwiched in between was, of course, Still Life at the penguin Café. How many times have I seen this, twenty five or more, I've lost track, and this is certainly, my ballet, my soundtrack, my work that I understand. and this time the cruelty hit me even harder. It is a joyous piece but heck the sting in the tail is hard. It is a faultless masterpiece. But interestingly, I mentioned my three favourite short pieces, and I have not only seen them all in one week, but I have noticed a link in the structure between Ghost Dances, Elite Syncopations, and still Life, and it's a classic structure I guess, that gives each member of the company a moment, whilst not draining the whole company. There is an introduction, a set up where the characters are introduced, then each couple or single dances their life in a show stopping moment, then some joyous or catastrophic ensemble finale where one is chosen or taken, and possibly it all starts again. Brilliant. Hmm, am thinking about that now.
But then I saw a farce at the Garrick, It Runs in the Family, and it is hard for me to be fair after the inventive detailed innovative production of Ladies in Lavender, but this simply did not work for me. Some great performances, but there was little else. nothing had been brought to it that was not on the page. As a pair of double doors kept swing on I kept thinking of the restaurant doors in Monsieur Hulot and that recurring sound effect that still has me in tears. If only the costume, the lighting, the design, the staging, the sound had contributed to the farce. they didn't and combined with a huge area of dead floor that the actors could not cross, it all lead to a rather hollow experience.
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