It’s hard to believe that Birmingham Royal Ballet’s comic ray of sunshine, La Fille Mal Gardee, has been part of the repertoire for some fifty years, yet the performance is still as entertaining for all members of the family as when it first premiered with the company back in 1962.
The idyllic setting of the rolling countryside is beautifully brought to life in Osbert Lancaster’s design of pastel colours and sketched drawings resembling the works of Ernest.H.Shepard and an adventure in the 100 Acre Wood.
Much like Shepard’s work, the ensemble of animals presented in the piece bring amusement and appreciation from the audience- whether it’s a chorus line of dancing chickens or the real life use of the cutest white pony you have ever seen set foot on a stage!
Taking the principle roles of the farmer’s daughter Lise and her forbidden lover Colas, Nao Sakuma and Iain Mackay give one of the most outstanding balletic performances I have personally witnessed with dynamic duets and a strength from Mackay that makes his female counterpart appear to float across the stage.
As well as the captivating execution of Frederick Aston’s fantastic choreography by the productions protagonists there is also much to enjoy from the comic supporting performances of David Morse as Widow Simone and special mention to the hilariously expressive Robert Gravenor as the hopless Alain.
Despite some clunky landings and mismatched synchronisation, the large ensemble of dancers dance round maypoles and across rolling country fields with a sense of bliss that radiates out from the large Hippodrome stage.
This funny, sunny, and thoroughly enjoyable evening is the pinnacle of light hearted and jolly entertainment.