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)
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days
Oscar voter speaks outfilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 2 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 3 What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 Fearne Cotton quits Radio 1 after ten years for 'family and new adventures'
Seinfeld is laughing all the way to the bank: TV show generates $3.1bn in repeat fees since final episode
Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl: First look at Oscar winner as transgender artist
Blade Runner sequel: Harrison Ford confirmed to return with Denis Villeneuve directing
All fiction follows one of six basic storylines, according to new research
House of Cards season 3 premiere, review: Has Frank Underwood gone soft?
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East