Review: Birmingham Royal Ballet presents Pointes Of View, at Birmingham Hippodrome
The Hippodrome isn’t situated in the most salubrious part of town, which means that on the way to a performance, theatre fans are often accosted by filthy, fuzzy fellows with flies flitting round their heads.
The tramps stick to the pavements outside the theatre, of course. Though not this week.
Busting their way on to the very stage itself, hobos managed to hobnob with the hoi polloi.
At least that’s the premise of The Lady and the Fool, one of three ballets staged as part of a bumper BRB package titled Pointes Of View.
The second ballet performed, it’s about a couple of park bench drifters who barge into a grand ball, where one of the tramps even manages to hook up with the most desirable female in the room.
It’s a sumptuous piece, with fittingly rich music from Verdi. There’s also plenty of clowning, ably accomplished by the cast, who prove that ballet isn’t just about pretty poppets on their pointes – it also covers prat falls a-plenty.
The first act of the show is Concerto, a sweeping modern piece with music by Shostakovich and Kenneth MacMillan’s choreography.
It’s the least extreme dance of the three. And, therefore, for me, the least memorable.
In the Upper Room, the third act, is more trance than dance.
Composer Philip Glass’s repetitive loops of noise are hypnotic, yet thrilling, with ripples of shimmering sound converging in a coastline of crescendo.
The dancers also weave past each other in dreamy loops. Very dreamy – most of them drift onto the stage in striped jimjams.
Twyla Tharp’s choreography incorporates jogging and gymnastics. There’s even some running backwards, as though the performance has been rewound.
The staging adds to the sense of other-worldliness, with dancers appearing and disappearing through clouds of smoke.
* Pointes of View is at The Hippodrome until Sept 25