Reviewed by Ann Durrell
Birmingham Royal Ballet’s production of La Fille Mal Gardee (or ‘The Wayward Daughter’) is good hearted fun, coupled with the outstanding dancing I have come to expect from the Birmingham Royal Ballet.
La Fille Mal Gardee is the story of Lise, the only daughter of Simone. Lise has her heart set on Colas, a young farmer, but her mother has more ambitious plans to marry her off to the son of a very wealthy vineyard owner, Alain. Lise takes every opportunity to escape to be with her love but her plans are always thwarted by her mother.
What I really liked about this production is how well the choreography allows the audience to get to know the characters and their relationships with each other. Lise, is playful whilst a little manipulative of her mother, knowing just how far she can push her before acting as the doting daughter to get her back on side. Lachlan Monaghan portrays Cole, the heart throb role to a tee, he comes across as charming and handsome willing to do anything to tempt Lise away from her mother.
Widow Simone danced by Rory Mackay is just brilliant. Looking a smidgen like a pantomime dame, in the very best way, we get the impression that as strict as she wants to be with her daughter, one flash of those big doe eyes and Lise will get her own way!
Alain, by Kit Holder, reminded me of one of Dorothy’s friends from the Wizard of Oz, although which I cannot place, maybe a hybrid of them all. He comes across as shy and without confidence, he wants to join in with the villagers celebrations but he never quite fits in.
From the outset in Act One we are treated to stunning solos from Lise danced by Miki Mizutani, and Cole danced by Lachlan Monaghan. Their duets are also outstanding; I was particularly impressed when the couple created a cat’s cradle whilst dancing with ribbons. Act Two brought a splendid comedic clog dance from Widow Simone along with a maypole dance from more or less the entire cast.
I enjoyed La Fille Mal Gardee from start to finish, I would recommend it to all ages and for ballet enthusiasts to those that have never been before.
Tickets cost from £16.50 (booking fees may apply).
Birmingham Royal Ballet’s La Fille Mal Gardee is at The Lowry in Manchester from 24-27 October 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.thelowry.com or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000