Art imitates life in Truant Company’s show the Right Ballerina. Loosely based on the story of Simone Clarke, who was discovered to be a member of the British National Party while being a dancer at the English National Ballet, this 90 minute play (with no interval) looks at the relationship between dancer, protester, artistic director and the board of the dance company in a Public Relations nightmare.
Penny (Helen MacFarlane) is the principal dancer in a successful company whose artistic director Jack (Adam Grayson) is her ex boyfriend. Following a revelation in the press about her political affiliation, Penny and Jack come under pressure from a variety of sources to seek the most advantageous outcome for all. The trouble is there is no consensus on how best to deal with it.
The script lacks punch and despite the emotive content, the language used does not always do enough to shock the audience or really give depth to the characters which makes it difficult to have an emotional response to their situations. The exchanges of dialogue are too safe and at times lack emotion. The constant scene breaks in semi darkness with the incessant playing of music designed to create suspense do little to encourage the flow of the piece which becomes stilted and the forced feeling of suspense detracts from the actual power of the piece. By the time the play reaches its climax, the drama has been lost and the outcome does not feel like the tour de force it should be.
The concept is good, the subject topical and interesting but the end result is somewhat disappointing. The staging does little to help deliver this interesting and compelling tale.
Sadly, The Right Ballerina is overall more passé than pirouette which is a shame as it could be a gala performance with a little more work.
- Ruth Lovett