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Edward II


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#1 Manhattnik

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Posted 21 September 2000 - 10:24 PM

Well, I survived the Royal Birmingham Ballet's Edward II, although it was touch-and-go for awhile. I do think this is a good candidate for The Worst Ballet Ever. While some really terrible choreographers like Bejart or Eifman have a certain warped genius, Bintley hardly rose to such levels, except for a jaw-dropping pas de trois for Edward, Queen Isabella and the bloody sack containing the severed head of his lover, Galveston. Now that was special.

As for the rest, well, I hope never again to see as many studded codpieces in one evening. I think I'll go cleanse my mind with some nice, wholesome pornography.

#2 Kevin Ng

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Posted 21 September 2000 - 10:30 PM

Did Wolfgang Stollwitzer dance Edward? I guess the young Robert Parker will dance later.

[This message has been edited by Kevin Ng (edited September 23, 2000).]

#3 Nanatchka

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Posted 21 September 2000 - 10:31 PM

I take it back. I told Cargill at intermission this ballet (of which I had seen the first act) was the worst thing I had ever seen, but I was wrong. The second act was the worst thing I have ever seen. This ballet has all the vulgarity and misogyny of MacMillan's Manon, taken to a truly staggering extreme. Mind you, there are a lot of other things I don't like much, but this was truly debased. More about the British than I really wanted to know. I leave it to someone less exhausted to figure out how to describe this ballet on line without being offensive.

#4 Manhattnik

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Posted 21 September 2000 - 10:44 PM

Kevin, yes he did.

And the second act was far, far worse than the first. The first had some unintentional humor. The second was like the Sahara.

I swear I could feel the continents drifting farther apart during Edward's endless duet with his executioner. The program coyly referred to Edward's having been executed by a method that would leave no outward physical mark, and, ignorant as I am of English history, I thought, "I get it, he's going to be bored to death." Well, I almost was.

After seeing the graphic representation of Edward's dispatch, I can safely say that there are indeed things worse than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

#5 Alexandra

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Posted 21 September 2000 - 11:27 PM

I'm so glad you all enjoyed yourselves so thoroughly! Manhattnik, think of what Another Choreographer could do with a ballet where a red hot poker figures pointedly--the 21st century jester role. Posted Image

#6 Estelle

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Posted 22 September 2000 - 05:59 AM

I've never seen that ballet, but it reminds me of "Les rois maudits", a series of historical novels by Maurice Druon about the 100-years war between France and England. (Not great literature, and probably not totally accurate historically, but good for long summers in a remote village). One thing that had striked me in that book was all the horrible executions and murders (depicted with quite a lot of details): the executions of the lovers of the daughters-in-law of Philippe IV (how do you say "ecartele"), those of the Temple knights (burned), quite a lot of people who had their head cut off with an axe, the death of Roger Mortimer... and also that horrible death of Edward II. Enough to make people have nightmares...

#7 Natalia

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Posted 22 September 2000 - 08:31 AM

Manhattnik wrote:
*************
I do think this is a good candidate for The Worst Ballet Ever.
*************

Didn't I predict this reaction from you & other 'Manhattanites' months ago? (he-he) Nonetheless, from all I've read beforehand about this ballet, I think that I may agree with all of you this time.

*************
. . . some really terrible choreographers like Bejart or Eifman. . .

Speak for yourself! Posted Image

- Jeannie (not exactly rushing to NY to see this one)

#8 cargill

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Posted 22 September 2000 - 08:56 AM

What can I add, except I had a debate during the intermission with someone about whether this was worse than The Snow Maiden, and we both reluctantly agreed that if forced, we would choose EdwardII. That was before the second act, however, which was truly, monumentally, staggeringly boring. It has all the vulgarity but none of the conviction of Eifman, and was truly inept. I think my very favorite part was, in order to show a voyage to France, he had little Edward III (dressed like a Victorian boy--the Nutcracker Prince after the transformation) swoop around the stage behind mylar curtains with a toy clipper ship (not very medieval), while the stage behind him dropped flats studded with the flur de lys. Well duh. (Presumably to let us know that the fleur de lys was not a symbol for Medieval France, the French courtiers were dressed in lolipop colored business suits, in order to make the message more universal.) But what was the message?

There is a very funny book of potted English history called 1066 And All That, a brief summary of what the average student might remember after leaving school, which divided things into Good Things and Bad Things, and I have to say that Edward II is a Very Bad Thing.

#9 Mel Johnson

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Posted 22 September 2000 - 05:39 PM

And "ecartele" means "quartered", as in "drawn and quartered". Not a fun way to go.

#10 Juliet

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Posted 23 September 2000 - 10:12 AM

One cannot help but wonder why BRB , a very fine company, brought this mess to New York.....
And Slaughter on Tenth Avenue...and Nut Sweeties...while I had looked forward to the costumes for the latter, why would a British company mess with Duke Ellington in New York....

Not saying that these won't be done well, but why bring this repertory? At least all the women got to go shopping during the first week of the run....doesn't seem as if there was much for them to do on stage....

#11 Kevin Ng

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Posted 23 September 2000 - 10:56 AM

Good question, Juliet. I had also wondered why BRB brought Edward II to Hong Kong 6 months ago instead of an Ashton or even MacMillan work in its repertory. BRB's press officer told me that David Bintley wants the company to be seen on tour in a programme which is representative of its present direction, instead of its past.



[This message has been edited by Kevin Ng (edited September 23, 2000).]

#12 Nanatchka

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Posted 25 September 2000 - 06:49 PM

Cargill cites the marvelous1066 and All That (which I admit was read aloud to me when I was a child, right along with Winnie the Pooh), which is by Osbert Lancaster. It got me thinking about this strange Brit dichotomy--you get Mrs. Tiggle Wiggle, and Dancing Veggies on the one hand, and Men In Masks and Leather and Let's Not Forget the Hot Poker on the other. Is this the same coin, flipped? I hope not, but I wonder.

#13 Helena

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Posted 26 September 2000 - 01:51 AM

1066 and All That is not by Osbert Lancaster, it's by WC Sellar and RJ Yeatman.

#14 Nanatchka

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Posted 26 September 2000 - 12:25 PM

Well then I am wrong. The Osbert Lancaster is about the crusades and such. Sorry. I was thinking about this last night in the wee hours, and thank you for the correction. The Lancaster is still terrif. Must check proper title. Sorry again, all. I would blame Edward II--in fact I will. As far as I am concerned, the latch on my washing machine is broken becasue of Edward II....

#15 dirac

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Posted 26 September 2000 - 12:42 PM

Here's Clive Barnes in the Post on the BRB -- loves the company, not the ballet. He also mentions an interesting detail about Edward's pas de deux with his executioner that I had not heard before. Had no idea the late king was into water sports.....
[url="http://"http://www.nypostonline.com/entertainment/11610.htm"]http://www.nypostonline.com/entertainment/11610.htm[/url]


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