More reviews of "Ocean's Kingdom."
The New York Observer:
You have to feel sorry for City Ballet: every one of its recent gimmicks—the drab new version of The Seven Deadly Sins, featuring the miscast and floundering Patti Lupone; the multiballet collaboration with the celebrated architect Santiago Calatrava, whose neophyte stage work mostly undercut rather than enhanced the poor choreographers he was supposedly working for; the empty, vulgar double-bill from Broadway choreographer Susan Stroman—has been an artistic mess. The telling thing about all these expensive fiascoes is not that they failed, but that Mr. Martins has dragged in ballet outsiders to score publicity coups and stimulate sales. But, hardly surprising, these naïve and exploited amateurs haven’t known what they were doing. And the audience catches on. There may have been an ovation at the Martins-McCartney gala premiere, but at the other performances to date, the applause has been polite and pro forma; it was Balanchine’s amazing Union Jack that got people excited.
The Boston Phoenix:
Before the ballet, the orchestra rose impressively from the pit on an elevator, the most spectacular feat of the evening, and conductor Fayçal Karoui led a little lecture-demonstration explicating the score. McCartney has been writing classical music for a while now, but it's strange to behold one of popular music's great innovators engaging in an old-fashioned sound and story. (McCartney also wrote the libretto.)
Foregoing the elaborate staging suggested by the plot and the music, Martins made a stodgy, formal work, neither a throwback nor a pop-art collage. There are no peasants or courtiers standing around the edges, no magic props or convertible set pieces. The costumes (by McCartney's daughter, fashion designer Stella McCartney) are coded according to dancing units. Charles Stanley's lighting and S. Katy Tucker's video and projections create all the scenic effects and illusions.