Reviewed by Jan Mellor
I was very keen to see this ballet having recently seen the ensemble at the Palace in Manchester and being totally knocked out by the performance. The story of Giselle a former garment factory worker who is loved by two men, Albrecht a wealthy man and Hilarion an outcast and trickster, leads this young woman into a world of deception and through a journey of two violently unequal worlds of the insanely rich and the desperate poor. The world divider is depicted incredibly by a high wall (covered in handprints) that revolves in an almost extra-terrestrial way throughout the performance.
The eerie and hypnotic sounds (mimicking a heartbeat at times) throughout the acts left the audience mesmerised. The score was at times almost Hitchcock or machine like and transported us to a galaxy beyond this or another.
The choreography, dancing and rhythm were sublime and the timing and interaction perfect – with times when the whole ensemble moved as if one person. As the audience departed at the end of the first act they were in awe and speechless – this was a ballet like no other.
The second act was even darker than the first and we knew as the willing observers that this was taking the hypnotic scene to another level – and it was. The set soon filled with the haunting ‘Wills’ (spirits of former factory girls) garbed in simple yet dramatic shabby dresses. The eerie and traumatic set grasped hold of the audience and threw us into their world of torment. The dancing was phenomenal – they danced continuously on top-toes – appearing as though the full cast were floating – truly spectacular. The dancing between Giselle and the two men who loved her was absolutely amazing and brought tears to my eyes. The music was sensational, and I truly have never seen such talent. I was utterly blown away. I do not want to give away the story as you need to see this for yourselves, but needless to say the story hinges on sheer tragedy and destructive injustice. A pure genius. Incredible how this vision was brought to life on a simple stage. Everyone involved in this production and performance should be very proud of what they have achieved.
This ballet is like no other. The choreographer, Akram Khan, the musical score, Vincenzo Lamagna and the director, Patrick Harrison, have designed a world like no other, with scenes that left the audience spellbound and hypnotised. The dancing was spectacular and the whole experience unforgettable. See this ballet, witness this phenomenon and be transported into a place like no other.
Tickets cost from £13 to £44.40 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
English National Ballet: Akram Khan’s Giselle is at the Liverpool Empire from 25-28 October 2017, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/liverpool or call the box office on 0844 8713017.
Liverpool Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 1JE | 0844 8713017