This isn’t a sponsored post.
BrumHour was invited to review Mixed Bill by Birmingham Royal Ballet.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
Please note this performance contains depictions of suicide and physical violence.
Mixed Bill – Birmingham Royal Ballet at Birmingham Hippodrome
The Autumn Season of Birmingham Royal Ballet starts with a mixed bill featuring three shorter productions.
A Brief Nostalgia
Choreographer Jack Lister and composer Tom Harrold
In this World Premiere from Jack Lister, the audience is invited to see how our shadows can cast different shapes, from being side lit to harshly lit from above, this thirty-minute performance repeatedly fills the stage with ten dancers from Birmingham Royal Ballet and then removes all but one, two or three of them throughout the piece. Music is provided by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia.
I was totally engrossed, partly to understand the performance, dressed in different shades of grey there is plenty of interpretations to offer. Were they prisoners? Were they strangers? Were they trapped in a system?
Lots to consider here.
Choreography Cathy Marston, Music by Phil Feeny
A woman (Sayaka Ichikawa), is on a bed at home whilst life happens around her. After being out all day, her husband (Jose Alves) catches her sexual encounter with another man (Mthuthuzeli November) and taunts her actions by making a suit figure out of the clothes the semi-naked man has left behind.
From above the two posts stuck into the ground look like three hands on a clock, and they appear to turn clockwise themselves until a final moment where they reverse.
The starkest of the three stories in tone, this piece echoed through my journey home.
The lighting and clothing depict a much more involved presentation by Ballet Black a London based Black and Asian ballet company. Find out more about Ballet Black here: balletblack.co.uk
Nine Sinatra Songs
Choreography by Twyla Tharp featuring music by Frank Sinatra
Strangers in the Night, My Way, and Somethin’ Stupid are just three of the nine songs during this set from Birmingham Royal Ballet. A huge glitterball shows that this is the most mainstream piece of the evening. Fusing ballroom with the talent of the ballet dancers on stage.
The quite polite and quieter audience that ballet brings to a theatre is much more in evidence here, no singing along to the tracks. Do be do be do! This wouldn’t have looked out of place on a certain Saturday night BBC One show.
A thoughtful collection of works each around 30 minutes with a 20-minute break in between. I found myself longing for more. Ballet makes you sit and think in a way you don’t get to at other productions, and there’s rather a lot of applause if you ask me.
Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Mixed Bill is at Birmingham Hippodrome until 21st September. Book tickets here: birminghamhippodrome.com/calendar/brb-mixed-programme
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.