BRB - LA FILLE MAL GARDEE - BIRMINGHAM, 5TH MARCH 2011
Sir Frederick Ashton’s La Fille Mal Gardee is a ballet that uplifts the soul it is so gloriously happy.
BRB gave a week of performances at their home base, the Birmingham Hippodrome and I was fortunate to see two contrasting performances on Saturday.
In the afternoon, Ambra Vallo was Lise and Cesar Morales was her Colas. The incomparable Michael O’Hare was the Widow Simone and James Barton was Alain.
This is a quintessentially English ballet, even though the story is French! Ashton has created believable characters that you really care about and has given them, IMHO, some of the most beautiful choreograph ever made.
Ambra is not an Ashtonian dancer in the way she moves her upper body but her footwork is superlative and she brings a real warmth and passion to the role that makes her unmissable. Cesar was a more gentle, contemplative and deeply romantic Colas than we usually see. Their interaction together was a joy to behold - it think most of the audience melted with them as they melted into each other in the beautiful duet before the storm and again in the final duet. Ambra also had a real emotional connection with Michael O’Hare as her mother too. James Barton gave a wonderful interpretation of Alain. His Alain was no simpleton but a youth from a wealthier background who perhaps had been over-protected and had no social skills at all. He was by turns hilarious and deeply moving. The entire cast was utterly involved in the performance, which was exquisite from start to finish.
I did wonder, having been so carried away to 7th heaven in the afternoon, if the evening performance would match up to expectation. It most certainly did. Elisha Willis and Jamie Bond were a delight together. Elisha was absolutely radiant as Lise and Jamie Bond was a cheeky, loving Colas. They were magical together. Rory Mackay was the Widow Simone and gave a beautifully understated performance. Again with Alain, Mathias Dingman was able to bring a real and moving depth to the characterisation. When you go to watch a BRB performance you go to watch a company and all the dancers give their all to the performance. Wonderful stuff
Saturday was a day filled with magic in Birmingham and I came away with my soul uplifted.
Fortunately the programme shows that BRB are performing Fille on tour in the Autumn (to Sunderland, Sadler’s Wells and Plymouth).
BRB - La Fille Mal Gardee - Birmingham - March 2011
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