Deloitte Ignite, Royal Opera House, review: A bitty show with several strong works

Turner Prize-winning artist Chris Ofili paints the bodies of Royal Ballet dancers

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The Independent Culture

Myth takes over the Royal Opera House in this year’s Deloitte Ignite festival, from the flaming braziers at the entrance to the Leonardo drawings around the Floral Hall.

Curated by The Royal Ballet and the National Gallery’s Minna Moore Ede, the festival ranges from free events and live-streamed performances to new commissions.

Sampling the Myth, the opening programme, is a mix of short excerpts and narration from scholar Marina Warner.

It makes for a bitty, uneven show, with several strong works. Miguel Altunaga’s Dark Eyes had a fabulous time with images of the three fates. Rambert dancers Estela Merlos and Hannah Rudd and Altunaga himself writhe out of darkness, switching from witchy revels to stark power.

The Indifferent Beak, a film by gifted 17-year-old choreographer Charlotte Edmonds and director Ravi Deepres, showed Eric Underwood and Claire Calvert moving with sensuous force and attack. Edward Watson is an almost feral Swan in the duet from Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake.

For Aakash Odedra’s Unearthed, Turner Prize-winning artist Chris Ofili painted the bodies of Royal Ballet dancers, which sounds fun but leaves them smothered: the mask-thick paint and heavy headdresses smother Odedra’s choreography.

Until 7 September. Deloitte Ignite season runs until 28 September. Box office 020 7304 4000

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