Thursday, January 11, 2007

Giselle - English National Ballet - review

Headed down to the Coliseum yesterday to enjoy a sweeping romantic ballet, Giselle, performed by the English National Ballet.

This was basically the 1841 version, so bring on the miming! Which is something that I am not keen on! The first 5 minutes are miming "oh flowers! oh I knock on the door! oh! love!" argh! Just dance, will you!! Maybe I say that because they were miming cheesy things and I found it boring. The best bit of the first act was Giselle dancing crazy, moving that sword around to the sound of threatening violins. Quite gripping.

The second act was great. The Wilis (the spirits of abandoned brides who force men who cross their path to dance to their death) were really spooky with their veils on, and running around in a whirling wind kind of way, hiding their faces, attacking men. I find the ENB to be great at group works, they are all so perfectly together. In this second act, it really made the Wilis more threatening. Sara McIlroy was a powerful Myrtha (Queen of the Wilis), I loved her.

In the lead roles, Agnes Oaks (Giselle) and Thomas Edur (Prince Albrecht) were really good too. Amazing technique, with some pretty grand jumps and intricate footwork.

The music and choreography of this ballet were written side by side, and I like the way they reveal all the politics that exist in a ballet company. "Ok now Adolphe [Adam, composer of the score] we need to write a little pas de deux for those two guys who have nothing to do with the plot because they are Principal dancers and we have to give them something to do. Oh and in the second act, we will have to write something for the 2 special Wilis who will have some solos ok?" hehe

So, overall, the dancers were great and the ballet too. It's just the miming really, it annoys me, though I guess they have to convey the plot haven't they?

You can read the Guardian review here.