Reviewed by Linda Curtain
It is great to see Birmingham Royal Ballet returning to Plymouth this week with their production of Giselle. Having seen several previous ballets by this exceptional company, I was delighted to be able to review this ballet, which is one I have not seen before.
Giselle is a traditional ballet – full of love, drama and betrayal. The producers, David Bintley and Galina Samsova, have worked hard to keep the production true to the original ballet with classic steps and a dramatic quality.
We arrived at the Theatre Royal Plymouth last evening to find a very full foyer area. It was lovely to see such a following for the Birmingham Royal Ballet with everyone welcoming their return to the city.
The Theatre Royal is conveniently located on Royal Parade in Plymouth city centre with good bus connections and ample nearby parking. The well recognised, if somewhat controversial, Messenger statue stands proudly outside the entrance to welcome the audience as they enter the theatre. The coffee shop in the foyer always has a tempting array of cakes and beverages!
Having enjoyed a coffee in the bar area, we collected our tickets and programme, located our seats and settled back to be transported to the Rhineland to watch Giselle’s story.
The opening scene portrayed a Rhineland village where the villagers were celebrating the end of the grape harvest. With very convincing scenery, complete with a rippling waterfall, the feel of the village was well captured.
The main story of Giselle is about her love for Loys who she believes to be one of the villagers, but he is actually Count Albrecht. Her love for him and the growing romance was portrayed beautifully through their amazing dance ability. Giselle’s former love, Hilarion, soon realises the Count’s deception and attempts to make Giselle aware. It is not until the arrival of the hunting party, carrying Albrecht’s future bride Bathilde on a beautiful white horse, that Giselle acknowledges the Count’s deception with tragic consequences. The dramatic transformation in Giselle from a young, carefree girl to being totally heartbroken following the deception was really heart-wrenching.
Delia Mathews as Giselle was faultless and such a talented young dancer. Tyrone Singleton was an amazing Count Albrecht with such strength and poise. They really made an outstanding leading couple.
The whole village scene was amazing with fantastic dancing and energy throughout. Variation in the mood was well created by the use of the musical score and the dancer’s technical skills. Despite one shaky lift and a few stumbles tonight, the scene was fast paced and generally well executed by the company.
Moving on to the second act, the whole atmosphere changed. We found ourselves in the churchyard where Giselle was buried and a heartbroken Albrecht visiting her grave. While mourning her death, he becomes surrounded by the Wilis – the ghosts of young girls who have died after being jilted by their lovers. The dancing was incredible as they worked to exhaust Albrecht and lure him to his death. This whole scene was amazing as the whole ensemble worked faultlessly as one creating a white wave of motion over the stage. Such fast, intricate technique combined with hypnotic, eerie music – this really was ballet perfection!
This dramatic story of love, betrayal and supernatural was danced brilliantly by a strong, talented company and fantastically supported by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia.
Birmingham Royal Ballet is at the Theatre Royal Plymouth until Friday with Giselle. They also have a children’s First Steps interactive show on Friday and a one-off production of Peter and The Wolf on Saturday.
A well-deserved 5-star rating – I can’t wait for their return next April with Swan Lake.
Tickets cost from £15 to £45 (booking fees may apply).
Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Giselle is at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth from 23-25 October 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.theatreroyal.com or call the box office on 01752 267222.
Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, PL1 2TR | 01752 267222