Balletboyz Them/Us at the Lichfield Garrick Review

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Reviewed by Catherine Brown

The captivating show ‘Them/Us’ performed by the world famous Balletboyz recently visited the Garrick Theatre, Lichfield as part of a national tour. BalletBoyz was co-founded in 2000 by ex-Royal Ballet dancers Michael Nunn and William Trevitt. The men have been performing around the world, winning many awards and accolades. Six talented dancers combine ballet and acrobatics in a unique show which will be appreciated by fans of innovative dance.

Them, in the first half of the show, was choreographed by the company dancers themselves. It explores the individuality of each dancer, and the versatility of their movements. The dancers began with synchronised movements, sometimes flowing sometimes staccato, demonstrating their ability to perform in perfect timing despite the minimal music background. They then moved on to different pieces, generally working together but every so often in pairs or individual. One piece particularly made me think of friendships and interactions – how they can vary between feeling comfortable or awkward. A single prop was used – a giant cube framework which the dancers cleverly manipulated around the stage. They performed around and inside the cube; while ballet was of course the main focus, occasionally they used it to demonstrate acrobatics or balances. Many movements required great trust and coordination between the tracksuit wearing dancers.

The second half, Us, was choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon. It explored human connections through both group dances and solo pieces finishing with a mesmerising duet. The simple lighting switched between focus on individuals or the clever use of shadows and silhouettes. The music picked up the pace slightly and the dancers demonstrated excellent dexterity in their lifts and balances. This section the dancers were uniformly dressed in grey and white shirt tails. One favourite sequence reminded me of someone moving towards a target and being either supported or held back.

The Lichfield Garrick is a modern theatre opened in 2003; it is located close to the bus station and with plenty of parking nearby. The staff are always warm and welcoming even on a quiet night. The Garrick has a variety of pleasant locations to start the evening – the Green Room Café and Bar is a handy place for a pre-show supper, glass of wine or warming hot drink, while the Piano Room also stocks a selection of drinks and snacks.

Although not a full house, the audience were warmly supportive of the dancers. Them/Us would be a great introduction to ballet with it being a fairly brief show – around half an hour in duration for each section. I enjoyed the evening and would particularly recommend it to anyone wanting to encourage boys to take up dance.

Rating: 4/5

BalletBoyz are currently on tour around the UK, for more information and tour dates visit www.balletboyz.com.

For other shows at the Lichfield Garrick visit www.lichfieldgarrick.com or call the box office on 01543 412121.

Lichfield Garrick Theatre, Castle Dyke, Lichfield, WS13 6HR | 01543 412121

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