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Showing posts from January, 2014

Dance Review: English National Ballet's Le Corsaire at The Coliseum

The festive sparkle of December was carried through to the usually glum January thanks to the English National Ballet’s swashbuckling Le Corsaire. The first time that a UK company has performed this ballet in its entirety, this production didn’t fail in delivering the spectacular.
Interpreting Byron’s poem of a pirate falling in love with a slave girl, this is a ballet overflowing with romanticism and drama. Anne-Marie Holmes’ staging for this new production is straight out of the golden age of cinema  - dashing pirates, led by a hunky Errol Flynn-esque Conrad as played by Vadim Muntagirov, countless erotic harem girls and a ridiculously comedic Pasha dripping in jewels and overcome with infantile excitement over attractive slave purchases.   

All principal casting, male and female, prompted audience gasps with gravity-defying leaps and pirouettes. Hardly does a classical ballet give the boys a chance to shine like the girls so Le Corsaire is a refreshing balance and it was a treat to s…

Theatre Review - The El. Train at Hoxton Hall

The last show I attended in 2013 was The El. Train - three one-act plays by Eugene O’Neill put together for the first time in a single production. The venue was the Victorian grade II listed Hoxton Hall which had been transformed into 1920s New York with a “Hell Hole” saloon bar serving up period-inspired cocktails and blaring out melancholic jazz. The theatre itself was turned into a cramped dark tenement block with the piercing sound of a railway train racing overhead followed by live music and the heart-rending vocals of Nicola Hughes.
The first two plays, Before Breakfast and The Web, were directed by Sam Yates with Ruth Wilson as the female leads. Before Breakfast sees Wilson’s embittered Mrs Rowland getting ready for work while talking to her silent husband Alfred of whom one could vaguely make out a silhouette in the curtained off bedroom. As the play progresses, anger rises and falls in Wilson’s east coast drawl which also sounds exhausted by everything. Increasingly more is re…