Sunday, 17 January 2016

'Le Corsaire' at The Coliseum

Pirates and ballet? What's not to like? So, when I saw that the English National Ballet was putting on 'Le Corsaire' at The Coliseum I had to get tickets. It's based on a poem by Lord Byron that I haven't read (but I will) so it's obviously going to be romantic and virile. I am very remiss in my reading of Byron (and the other romantic poets to be honest) so I need to put that right. Soon.

The performance opens in the slave market of old Constantinople with it's shimmering minarets and traders from all over the globe. We see slave girls and courtesans, pirates and slavers, traders and palace guards all strolling round, having minor dance-offs and giving the girls ample chances to show their moves in the hopes of being bought by the Pasha or a wealthy patron. Conrad, our pirate captain is seeking his beloved Medora and needs to save her from the slave markets. He finds her and rescues her as she is being sold. He whisks her off to his pirate cave and stronghold but has to face down rebellion in the ranks and spirit Medora away through shipwreck and disaster but true love conquers all. Obv.

This was a very spectacular and colourful production with some excellent dancing. My gradual learning about ballet also tells me that this is an 'old' ballet in which the women lead and the men are largely there to carry the women around and perform astonishing acrobatic - which they do. How on earth can they jump so high and not be in the Olympics? Except the paunchy Pasha, of course, who waddled round the stage in sparkly robes.

A cast of thousands (sort of), great costumes, scenery and lighting, very exotic and romantic and a great spectacle. As is usual, there are a few principals who take turns dancing the leads and men were Laurretta Summerscales as Medora and Brooklyn Mack who did great jumps and leaps. C'mon guy, get your application form in for Rio 2016 and you'll win Olympic Gold easily!

It was a delightful production only let down by the absence of pirate grog and grog-flavoured ice-cream at the half times.

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