Reviews of the Australian Ballet in 'The Merry Widow.'
The Sydney Morning Herald
Helpmann's genius can be seen in the scintillating scenario and entertaining theatrics, which make this opulent tale a well-cut ballet classic. Desmond Heeley's stunning designs fizz with colourful Belle Epoque glamour, John Lanchbery's creative arrangement of Franz Lehar's music sparkles, while Ronald Hynd's choreography is swept along by swoony waltzes and dizzying ballroom scenes.
The lavish sets and costumes complement fine acting and great stage direction, enabling the loveable characters to deliver a complex storyline with humour and clarity.
Ronald Hynd's choreography features virtuosic moments, but its main challenges lie in detail and timing. John Lanchbery's imaginative arrangement of Lehar's score (including stylistically matched original contributions) barely pauses and Hynd allocates swiftly flowing sequential and synchronised ensemble choreography to match, much of it along rapidly realigning diagonal and geometric lines. In this visual champagne of froth and bubble, error margins are narrow. The ensemble manages extremely well, touches of opening night uncertainty in the male corps corrected by the second performance. The waltzes are particularly impressive, lift sequences flawless and formations tidy.