Ballad of the burning star (3.5*)

Ruth’s 3.5* review:
This performance was described to us as a story about the conflict in Israel narrated by a drag queen. I guess it was that, but it was more as well. Dark and complicated and not your usual method of storytelling. Along with the main narrator, the story is interpreted – mainly though dance – by a troop of ladies in sexy military uniform. Gorgeous costumes, and very very slick. The performance jumps between the telling and the interaction between the narrator and her troop. It is a harrowing tale, and it becomes more so. I find it hard to know how to judge something like this, I’m certain it won’t be for everyone in terms of its style or subject matter. And I’m not sure it was for me, I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it (and I generally like the deep and dark stuff). But. It was extremely competent and different and interesting.

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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.