Birmingham Ballet At It's Best

Birmingham Royal Ballet

Theatre Severn

26/27 May 2015

Theatre goers were certainly out in force this week as the Birmingham Royal Ballet hit town. Sporting three very different dances it was obvious audience members were delighted to learn their ticket money had been a great investment.

Firstly with a cavalcade of colour, expression and delight Les Rendevous unfolded.

It was a light hearted and technical piece of brilliance. One was aware that this is some of the greatest ballet on show in Britain today. Every movement had a name and behind the frippery and fun of the piece there was a solid disciplined technician moving as only the breeze should.

Using all available space the entire candy caned ensemble filled the stage with movement. One could grow dizzy trying to catch the whole array of marvelousness, that was happening at any one time.

 If the Birmingham Royal Ballet wish you to see the entire empty space as a busy Parisian park in the middle of Summer then that is what you will see. No mean feat without the use of words and spoken language.

But that is what dance is. It is a language all of its own and it is a language this company are fluent in.

Kin was the second piece. A more challenging piece of work exploring not only the complexities of family life but how best to push the human body in pursuit of the truth.

Dancers were so weightless and beautiful as their bodies moved and twisted in ways that under normal circumstances should not be possible for humans to achieve. One is mindful of that, as the company heap up move after beautiful move.

Setting design and technical backing are all equally important in bringing the final stroke of brilliance to the audience. Clearly aware of that rule BRB shone in evry aspect.

The final piece, Elite Syncopations broke all conventions. Bringing  the otherwise invisible orchestra up from the pit and staging them on rostrum, in costume, at the back of the stage was just a start. As was the introduction of the upright piano in the score.

With an almost Mississippi riverboat feel to the spectacle dancers took it in turns to show the other dancers what they had got. It was almost a boy versus girl thing with each trying to match or top the last movement each time. It was frolicking, it was fun and it was astonishing.

Ballet has suffered considerably in the hands of comics, critics and snobs. The ghosts of a Victorian reputation have hung around the theatre doors for way too long. Ballet is now, it is real and it is a beautifully powerful medium. If trails into the hearts of the common man are to be blazed, I would back the BRB to be way up amongst the front runners. They would be there, relevant and needed.

This was a brilliant night with over a million steps each of them carried out to micro precision. Not only that but they made it look just so easy. I was breathless just watching.

This is a four star review.

Owen Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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