Birmingham Royal Ballet · Dance · Reviews

(Belated) Thoughts On: Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Shakespeare Triple Bill

A couple of weeks ago, I made my likely final visit to Birmingham Hippodrome for a while (more on this soon) to see the final show in Birmingham Royal Ballet’s season in Brum until October. As part of Shakespeare’s 400th year, BRB presented their Shakespeare Triple Bill, made up of Wink, ‘he Moor’s Pavane and The Shakespeare Suite.
The evening began with a new piece choreographed by Jessica Lang called Wink. This is a dance piece inspired by Shakespeare’s many sonnets and set to music by Jakub Ciupinski. Whilst I wasn’t entirely sold on the dancers moving the set pieces (designed by Mimi Lien), which felt a tad random, this was an otherwise really great new piece. The sonnets were really sensitively chosen and fitted the score beautifully and Peter Tiegen’s lighting really added to the overall impact. The dancing throughout was incredibly strong, and featured some really great male partnering between Brandon Lawrence and Lewis Turner. Lawrence was really the star of this piece, doing some great solo dancing to almost music-less sonnets and is definitely someone to watch.
The next part of the evening was a mounting of Jose Limon’s The Moor’s Pavane. This is what really attracted me to the evening as Othello is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays  and this piece is based on the central plot of that piece. Stripped back to just four performers, Limon uses the pavane style of dance and ballet style steps to tell the story. All four dancers were great; Tyrone Singleton coolly imposing as The Moor, Delia Mathews seems to just glide across the stage as his wife and then Iain Mackay & Elisha Willis (dancing some of her final performances with the company) as the scheming and more sexual couple really added the edge to the piece.

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The highlight of the evening was David Bintley’s Shakespeare Suite based on the music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. This presents the numerous dysfunctional relationships that various Shakespearean characters have with each other (or in the case of Hamlet, with himself). Really, the entire company is fantastic in this. Angela Paul and Lachlan Monaghan as the duelling Katherine & Petruchio on their wedding day; the darkly sexy Celine Gittens as Lady Macbeth manipulating Iain Mackay’s Macbeth into committing murder and Laura Purkiss and Kit Holder as the drunk/giddy Titiana and Bottom were all just fantastic. As Hamlet, Mathias Dingman bought a really acrobatic swagger to the piece, but literally everyone was brilliant in this at times dark (especially the presentation of Othello) but also laugh-out-loud funny piece.

My delay in getting this up means that the run at the Hippodrome has ended. However, you can catch Wink & The Moors Pavane alongside Frederick Ashton’s adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Salford & Plymouth (info here) from September and this Triple Bill again in London from October (info here).

Thought I’m going to be sad not be a walk away from their home, I’m definitely going to be trying to get to see the new Bintley-choreographed production of The Tempest, at my new home in London.

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