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BrumHour saw Apollo, Interlinked and Still Life at the Penguin Café at the invite of Birmingham Royal Ballet.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
Review: Apollo, Interlinked and Still Life at the Penguin Café at Birmingham Hippodrome
Choreography by George Balanchine (© The George Balanchine Trust) music by Igor Stravinsky
Brandon Lawrence is Apollo (at this performance), he is visited by Terpsichore (Céline Gittens), Calliope (Lucy Waine) and Polyhymnia (Amelia Thompson) who compete for his affection.
Dressed in white this feels like the most classical of the three pieces presented in this summer triple bill. The skilled Birmingham Royal Ballet dancers are precise with minimal props and one staircase at the rear.
This is the final week to see the wonderful Brandon Lawrence perform with Birmingham Royal Ballet as he moves to Ballett Zurich for the new season and his pairing with Céline Gittens is wonderful.
The strength of the Royal Ballet Sinfonia elevated this performance to land it FIVE stars from me.
Choreography by Juliano Nunes with music by Luke Howard
Placing all of the dancers in long tutu uniforms them to become one merged orchestrated team. I didn’t spot a narrative and I’d previously seen and reviewed this production in Summer 2022. I’d remembered it for the music and how inclusive it felt and that stands up even stronger a year later. It challenges what I thought about ballet without taking anything away from it.
It’s certainly interesting to see how placing different productions around it makes it stand out.
Still Life at the Penguin Cafe ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Choreography David Bintley with music by Simon Jeffes
Playful, fun and making a statement about the world; Still Life at The Penguin Cafe is like performing artwork. It does feel a little out of its time rather than timeless compared to much older ballets but this may be down to the statements it is making.
In the massively talented global village that is Birmingham Royal Ballet, the treatment of the planet, the way we affect nature and how we can impact on those things, must bubble up with the performers who come from all over the world.
The costumes and masks provide much more freedom of expression here for the dancers and it is fun to see them embody the animals but still make it feel graceful.
Apollo, Interlinked and Still Life at the Penguin Café are at Birmingham Hippodrome with Birmingham Royal Ballet until 10th June 2023. Find out more about Birmingham Royal Ballet at brb.org.uk and book tickets at Birmingham Hippodrome here: birminghamhippodrome.com/whats-on.