The Prince of the Pagodas, ballet review: 'A feast for the senses'

The Lowry, Salford

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The Independent Culture

This is one not to miss. David Bintley’s sumptuous production of Britten’s ballet The Prince of the Pagodas is a feast for the senses.

Bintley has transplanted the setting to Japan after the acclaim for Bintley’s Aladdin there.

Indeed this production was first performed in Tokyo by the National Ballet of Japan. In this British premiere Birmingham Royal Ballet members were augmented by dancers from Japan and China.

Rae Smith’s stylised oriental sets take the breath away. Her stylish and sophisticated costumes conjure magic moods and accentuate flow and movement. The contoured leotard of the Salamaner Prince perfectly set off a sinous and sensuous snaking performance by William Bracewell.

Bintley’s choreography shimmies beautifully between the creative and the classic in imaginative scenes of earth, water, fire and air. His delightfully fey sea-horses move with aplomb and his Balinese ladies with a deft and nimble humour.

Jenna Roberts dances with an easy deceptive grace as the princess while Samara Downs epitomises the glamour of evil as a seductive Empress. James Barton is versatile and engaging as the court fool. The Royal Ballet Sinfonia supported admirably.

It plays next in Birmingham, Plymouth and then at the Colisuem in London.