Friday, 16 March 2012

Spring Passion

Daphnis and Chloë/ The Two Pigeons, Birmingham Royal Ballet, London Coliseum – reviewed on 14th March
Frederick Ashton provides the passion for Birmingham Royal Ballet’s double bill at the London Coliseum. Love is lost and found (and then lost and found again) in two charming works by the famed British choreographer.
Daphnis and Chloë tells the story of a couple in Ancient Greece. Despite the lovers being split by fervent admirers and a band of pirates, they are reunited through divine intervention to enjoy a happy ending. Ashton’s choreography is frivolous and fun, from feisty moustache men displaying their muscles to elegant floaty-winged nymphs. Jenna Roberts is radiant as Chloë but partner Jamie Bond lacks her expressiveness. Gorgeous music by Maurice Ravel and lovely designs by John Craxton accompany this sweet ballet.

In The Two Pigeons, a young painter is tired of his humdrum life and abandons his fiancée for an enticing gypsy, before repenting and returning home to his forgiving sweetheart. The title refers to the fable on which the ballet is based, but Ashton takes the bird metaphor quite literally, using wing-flapping and neck-protruding avine choreographic references and live pigeons onstage.

Birmingham Royal Ballet dancers make the characters authentic and appealing. Carol-Anne Millar is a vibrant and charismatic Gypsy Girl, and leads Ambro Vallo and Chi Cho make a tender couple, particularly shining in the final lyrical pas de deux.

This is a double dose of passion performed with excellence. In this gloomy March weather, it brings some much needed Spring sunshine.

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