Standing worlds apart from its contemporary predecessor, Quantum Leaps; Cyrano marks a return to the traditional stylistics of ballet as part of Birmingham Royal Ballet''s Autumn season offering at Birmingham Hippodrome.
The tale revolves around the beautiful Lady Roxane as she enlists the help of her cousin the poet, Cyrano, to deliver love letters to her beloved; Christian. The narrative moves at a predictable, yet enjoyable pace; making it hard not to be entertained by the story of the two lovers.
The principal dancers that make up the three protagonists are equal in their skill and definite understanding of the discipline. These principles stand as a fine example of Birmingham Royal Ballet's reputation as one of the premiere companies in the world.
Hayden Griffin’s sumptuous, traditional set designs provide beautiful settings to background to the action on stage; including a couple of colossal looming tress that wash frame of the performance with autumn oranges and fresh greens.
However, whilst they may seem to be historically correct, the costumes can also appear to be ridiculous; especially in the case of the villain of the story, who seems to have just left his dressing room to assume the role of Captain Hook in an overblown production of Peter Pan, rather than a tragic love story.
Carl Davis’s specially commissioned score is an equal match in its gargantuan proportions and provides a decorative backbone to the piece.
The aspect of the discipline of ballet that I simply cannot seem to overcome is the overblown gesturing and pantomime acting, which are at full capacity in this production. The over acting becomes especially distracting whilst the large chorus are present during duets between the lovers, in which the gurning of the ensemble distracts from the skill of their principles. This does nothing more than distance my emotions from the narrative and makes it impossible to think that the story to is nothing but an illusion, and the piece subsequently becomes impossible to connect with, whilst it looks very pretty.
- Ben Wooldridge