BrumHour saw Hobson’s Choice at Birmingham Hippodrome
at the arrangement of Birmingham Royal Ballet.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
Birmingham Royal Ballet
Choreography David Bintley Music Paul Reade
I’m starting to learn that ballet comes in all shapes and styles. Birmingham Royal Ballet’s production of Hobson’s Choice is a brilliant and comedic silent movie spectacle featuring a live orchestral music by Royal Ballet Sinfonia.
Footwear shop owner Hobson (Jonathan Payn) has a drinking problem, he also has three daughters, who all want to get married. Vickey (Laura Purkiss) wants to marry Fred (Mathias Dingman), a corn merchants son, Alice (Delia Mathews) wants to marry Albert (Rory Mackay), a lawyer and shy eldest daughter Maggie (Samara Downs) and the assistant bootmaker Will (Lachlan Monaghan) are also “courting”. Since its the 1910s if they get married they won’t be able to work for him unpaid so he is refusing to approve their marriages.
Telling a story without any words might seem like a challenge today but David Bintley’s direction communicates everything you need to know with skilled ease. Larger than life movements, sadness and loss are all right there. The story itself doesn’t touch on why Hobson is always so drunk but the lack of any mother figure in the story lets us draw our own conclusions.
The set changes are swift and smooth from a park to inside a shop or warehouse to the workshop later on. The audience’s laughter made me smile as did the audience singing along with confidence at a scene later on in the story.
The costumes made me think of Mary Poppins with their bowler hats, top hats for the men, flat wide hats with flowers on for the ladies.
Special shoutouts for Samara Downs and Lachlan Monaghan with their layered performances. Vulnerable and slightly fearful of what the future might hold but still facing it full on. There is a lot to listen out for in the music too including a rendition of Ten Green Bottles.
I really enjoyed this performance and seeing world class ballet on our doorstep is a proper treat! I can’t wait to see what Birmingham Royal Ballet does next as David Bintley leaves his role as director, and Carlos Acosta takes the reins.
Book tickets to see Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Hobson’s Choice which is at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday 22nd June here: birminghamhippodrome.com/calendar/birmingham-royal-ballet-hobsons-choice
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When not writing about theatre for BrumHour, or producing Interval Theatre for Brum Radio (Tuesdays 3pm) brumradio.com/intervaltheatre,
Dave Massey can be found eating crisps and claiming to be at the gym. And tweeting about Birmingham for #BrumHour.