This Ďnew balletí is really a dance drama with, as someone we met after the show accurately pointed out, not enough dance!
Itís based on a Hans Christian Anderson short story, but even with polymath Matthew Dunster on board as Dramaturge, it wasnít always clear how what was happening on stage related to the story. It was only after I read the story (as opposed to the synopsis, which doesnít really help) in the programme after the second part did I really understand the second part! This narrative flow isnít helped by the two intervals (presumably in order to facilitate scene and costume changes and dancer rests) and a lot of moments where a screen comes down and you are left with just projections.
That said, I liked the Pet Shop Boys score, which alternated between technopop and orchestral and technopoporchestral and Katrina Lindsayís designs and Tal Rosnerís projections, with a nod to Rodchenko, are terrific. What dancing there is is good, but in truth the talents of Royal Ballet star Ivan Putrov, New Adventures Aaron Sillis and the lovely Clemmie Sveaas as the Princess arenít really exploited.
Choreographer Javier De Frutos has created a dance drama spectacle which was always watchable and listenable but only occasionally fluid. If it comes back (which, based on a sold out 10-day run, it inevitably will) and you go, be sure to read the story first. - Gareth James
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