REVIEW: Giselle at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

English National Ballet's Giselle

English National Ballet's Giselle

Heaven on Earth writer Sara Jeffs with Russell Watson

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The greatest story ever told

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English National Ballet’s artistic director Tamara Rojo explains that Giselle is more than just about love, betrayal and forgiveness: it is also about social context.

That context in Akram Khan’s Giselle is one of migrant workers in a garment factory and the physical and metaphorical wall that is the class divide. This dovetails with the powerfully haunting score.

This is not a ballet of lavish costumes and sets. This is not a ballet with set pieces. This is a ballet with a unique score by Vincenzo Lamagna showing echoes of the original by Adolphe Adam. This is a ballet with a striking contemporary meaning. The choreography and vision simply breathtaking.

Giselle comprises two acts; whilst both are as dark as each other, the choreography, with it’s slow deliberate moves and changing shapes is memorizing to watch. The second act is danced almost entirely en pointe and the dance of the factory ghosts, the Wilis, seeking retribution is stunning. The noise of pointe shoes and bamboo canes form part of the music and offer a counterpoint to the carefully deployed silences.

Dancing the roles of Giselle and Albrecht are Alina Cojocaru and James Streeter. Their love, betrayal and forgiveness palpable, moving and relevant.

This is a must see.

Until October 29.

CARRON EVANS

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