Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (3*)

Ruth’s 3* review:

These guys are an all male ballet company who perform a kind of comedy ballet thing.  I have to say I didn’t entirely get it.

They are clearly popular.  The audience were loving it, all whooping and clapping and wetting themselves laughing.  Standing Os all round, and a full house.

It was a sort of parody, I guess.  If I was intellectualising it I would tell you that it subverts the genre of ballet by taking traditional notions of the artform and replacing them with something unexpected.  Big guys, minority ethnic guys, powerful athletic guys, hairy guys all dancing the parts usually danced by women.  With a bit of gentle piss taking around the style and content of the pieces.

Alternatively I could say that I felt like much of the comedy was in the guys wearing tutus.  That I didn’t get. Now I’m one of the PC brigade but my thoughts on this are not in this case related to transgender rights.  I just don’t see why guys in dresses is funny.  And not only that, but I thought they looked pretty.  They were quite lean and athletic and it didn’t seem all that weird or out of place to me.

With the main comedy element not working for me and a general lack of background in classical ballet, all that was left was a bit of slapstick and mugging about the place and general silliness.  And I’m not a fan of panto.  So…

Upon  reflection, I think I am concurrently too open minded and too ignorant to appreciate this.  I have few preconceptions about what art and comedy should be so the juxtapositions are lost on me and I need something a bit edgier, and I don’t know enough about ballet to appreciate the parody.

Not for me, but a nice change.

 

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Lyceum: Time and the Conways (4.5* / 5*)

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Ian’s 4.5* Review:

I studied the J.B. Priestley play “An Inspector Calls” at school and it made an impression on me then, but I’ve never seen any of his work in the theatre until now.  I shall certainly be looking or for more…

The Lyceum describes the play very eloquently, so I’ll use their words here:

“If you could turn back the clock, would you do it all again?”

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Cats (4*)

Cats PosterIan’s 4* Review:

It’s one of my dirty little secrets.  I love Andrew Lloyd Webber.  I have several tapes (!) and CDs and I’ve seen a good number of the shows.  I’ve never seen Cats though, until tonight at the Playhouse.

I’m very glad we went, because this is an excellent production.  It’s an ensemble cast with a huge amount of talent.  The show is a very “musical” musical and the cast are absolutely up to the grade – some very powerful performances and hardly a missed note.  The movement and dance is distinctly non-human too – and at times scarily cat-like!  The set is fabulous too, quite extravagant for a touring production.

The only negatives were that it was a bit hard to make out some lyrics, especially at the start, and I couldn’t help thinking that some of the synth voices were just a little more 80’s cheesy than was strictly necessary.

Overall I loved it.

Ruth’s 4* Review:

Cats is the first professional production of a musical that I saw, ooh must be well over 20 years ago.  I remember going to Blackpool to see it and taking my book of TS Eliot poems with me.  Geek that I am.  I subsequently named my baby guinea pigs after the various characters.

Well Ian hadn’t seen Cats so we went along for Valentines day.

It really is a very charming musical.  Whimsical and virtually lacking in storyline, true, but charming nonetheless.  Some nice songs though, which I think tend to be unfortunately a bit eclipsed by the much overplayed (and usually incorrectly named) Memory.

It was a lovely production with some decent singing and dancing, and a bit of a light show.  The set was great and it was really fun how the cats blended into the scrapyard and often seemed to appear from nowhere.  Skimbleshanks the railway cat was my favourite (as always) but a special mention also to the one who sang Memory for doing it justice and performing with the kind of raw desperation that Michelle Ryan in Cabaret failed to achieve.

The kids in front of us were loving it, and Old Deuteronomy sat on the stage in the interval for the little uns to cuddle, so that all made me happy too.