Pas de problem
Wednesday 25 January 1995
Macfarlane, whose predeliction for large-scale sets found its perfect outlet in Wright's Nutcracker, opts for fewer special effects in his 1995 production of Giselle. But, having supplied the obligatory cottage and hut, he dresses the stage from top to bottom with a dramatic forest of autumn foliage, illuminated by Jennifer Tipton's lighting.
In a tribute to Wright, who retires at the end of this season, the Royal Ballet is giving 13 performances of his Giselle between now and March. The first two marked the debuts of, respectively, Errol Pickford as Albrecht and Leanne Benjamin as the title role's peasant girl. Pickford doesn't look totally at ease as a noble cad. Yet he warmed instantly to Nicola Roberts's mettlesome Giselle and, together, they succeeded in accentuating all the delightful mime of the initial scene d'amour.
Benjamin's Giselle, as sturdy and innocent as Roberts's, is well-served by Bruce Sansom's playful yet aristocratic Albrecht. Benjamin's is a Giselle who, early in Act I, hints at her own imminent tragedy and entry to the unearthly realm of the wilis. If Sansom carries off the final scene more convincingly than Pickford, it was not for any lack of effort on the latter's part. But his intensity of feeling does remain partially trapped behind a bland facade. However, next to Luke Heydon's Hilario n - imagine Rowan Atkinson as a 19th-century gamekeeper - Pickford's acting deserved an Oscar.
In the pas de six, William Trevitt, who has matured into one of the Royal's finest assets, partnered Sara Gallie and (in the evening) Belinda Hatley with his customary attentiveness, but it was through the gracious amplitude of his own dancing that he crowned this challenging set of divertissements. And in Davor Krnjak the company has a guest conductor whose appreciation of the nuances of Adam's score enable him to lead us through the corresponding leitmotifs of music and dance, his baton sharpening, softening and polishing as required.
n The Royal Ballet perform `Giselle' on 27 Jan, 9, 14, 18 Feb, 7, 8, 17, 21 and 25 Mar (Box office 071-304 4000)
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 2 Art Garfunkel: Paul Simon is a 'monster' with a Napoleon complex
- 3 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 4 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
- 5 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
Game of Thrones rape scene criticised as 'disgusting' by US senator Claire McCaskill who says she's 'done' with show
Eurovision 2015: Graham Norton returns with another cutting commentary - his best lines
Art Garfunkel: Paul Simon is a 'monster' with a Napoleon complex
Eurovision 2015: The best moments from Australia's random entry to Lithuania's gay kiss
Dheepan, film review: Palme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland