Bruce Wall

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  1. With all the (understandable) concern about security I am amazed that they STILL are not zapping the bar codes on the (e)tickets. In Paris now they would be breaking the law by not doing so. If there actually was to be a terrorist turn either there - heaven forefend - or in the very close vicinity - they would have no way of knowing who was ACTUALLY inside. Not that that is an exact science. It isn't. Still it is a better guide than nothing being recorded at the gate. (As it is their searches are so cursory they might as well - in reality - not occur. I asked one ROH FOH staff member: 'Have you ever found anything?' He just laughed.)
  2. Much to engage in the second cast of this triple bill. Standouts for me were Sambe's authoritative - almost animistic - power in the Muntagirov role in Vertiginous; Zucchetti being an absolute delight in Tarantella - and infusing it with a definitive Italianate grin - oh, and a mean tambourine - and Laura Morera - Yes oh so lovely and provocative Laura Morera in Symphonic Dances. You can see why she is Scarlett's muse. As one regular said to me on the platform 'it is almost a different ballet'. Indeed it is. Morera and Ball are such fine dance actors that that third movement PDD is in an entirely different league through their bodies - not that it disappointed before. It didn't. ... Here it consistently simmers in its build, then stings. A word of praise for young Giacomo Rovero .... He is vivid in his depiction of innocence. A shout out too for young Francisco Serrano - lovely and clean lyrical turns ... oh, and Leo Dixon - but then he always looks good in whatever he does. Donnelly's partnering was exemplary. What wealth through rank the RB now has ... and that without hesitation includes the MD. Kessels made the Rachmaninoff sing throughout with rightful force. SO much to celebrate.
  3. Here's another viewer's take from the third performance. Seems it is growing in its stealth. Agree about Lee - she was enervating - and I had no idea she was still in College herself. Just so much potential on show. Thoroughly enjoyed this. The music is probably one of my favourite scores, and there's some lovely songs that were cruelly omitted from the film. The atmosphere as it got dark was really quite magical. I find McOnie's choreography a little samey at times but the dream ballet in the second act and the Lonely Town sequence were just lovely. I've always liked Lizzy Connelly before but found her vocals in her first number a little weak, but otherwise she was fab. The new talents in this are brilliant, especially Miriam-Teak Lee as Claire. Can't believe she hasn't even graduated from drama school! Danny Mac was a lovely singer and terrific dancing from everyone. The plot's a bit thin, the script a bit hokey (and I always hated the fiancé character and his continued refrain) but it's a fantastic night out. Already plotting a return trip.
  4. 1. Unveiling the mystery of 'Chock full o'nuts .. here. 2. Yes, I really did enjoy it. That this was the first preview performance - and because of the amount of rain in the previous couple of days it is quite possible that they didn't have a dress rehearsal - or certainly may not have got through the entire thing once. On that basis- this was - in a word - miraculous. 3. Is it 'better' than AAIP? No, I wouldn't say better ... It would be like comparing apples with oranges ... They fall under the same period category but their individual tastes and takes are entirely distinctive. AAIP is loosely based on a land-marked film but is - as Wheeldon quite rightly has frequently pointed out - almost entirely re-fashioned into a something new for today. ON THE TOWN was written IN the period that AAIP seeks to celebrate. It's book is of its time - and a quality one at that. Reference the steady laughter on Friday night. The Comden and Green didn't need to be updated .... AAIP's contemporary slanted book sadly sometimes clunks - or at least it did for me. The scores for both are magnificent - but the Bernstein with its very original construct is much more of a unified whole - and yet - under that same umbrella's fix - celebrates a most remarkable diversity. There is no comparison between the pit orchestras and the overall sound quality in London between OTT and AAIP. OTT wins (jazz) hands down. (In Paris AAIP had what amounted to a small symphony orchestra - and that was quite a different kettle of fish 4. Mea Culpa at getting some of the names wrong in the former post ... It is Drew McOnie who directed/choreographed this very well thought out production and Tom Deering is the fantastic MD. 5. Here's a comment from the Theatreboard about the first preview which was most apt ... "Saw this last night. A few first night teething problems, screeching parrakeets, one of the male chorus losing his shoe into the audience in the opening number, a non collapsing dinasour, issues with retracting and removing sets, Siena Kelly playing Ivy falling down a gap between the stage and one of the entrance ramps, however in the best tradition the show carried on. This is another show where dance is first and foremost and it holds its own with the current crop in the west end. The stand out in the first half was a ballet of a gay sailors encounter on his leave in New York. The cast were all excellent with Danny Mac showing he has the chops to lead a show. The resolution did seem a little rushed but overall this has makings of a five star production." Agree with that gay encounter was most sensitively handled ... and the backing of the song at its end made it especially poignant ... much more so than the glued on affair that is the sexual awakening of Henri in AAIP. There is, I promise, much to enjoy in OTT. .
  5. In advance of the Bernstein centenary celebrations - and quite right too - I went to the first preview of ON THE TOWN at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre tonight. IT IS ALREADY BREATHTAKING. (I realise that this is NOT ballet - but it was of course inspired by the success of a [stage] ballet - and how many musicals can actually say that!!! ... with, of course, the original choreographer and composer in Broadway and London tow!!!) I kept thinking how I wished that FANCY FREE was in place of The Age of Anxiety in next year's RB Bernstein homage. Just think how many younger people in London have NEVER seen that Robbins masterwork. Just think of the thrilling narrative/balletic combinations at the Royal Ballet to cast those three sailors from just now - (Think Muntagirov; Ball; Sambe or Clark, Richardson, McRae; Think Campbell; Zuchetti and Hay; Think Dyer, Sissens or Dixon; think Edmunds, Brændsrød or Donnelly, think Churches, Yudes or Di Primo); and then there are the two principal female slots: (Think Morera and Hayward; Think Takada and Naghdi; Just Think of O'Sullivan and Stix-Brunell or Nunez and Katsura; Lamb and McNally, etc.) .... Oh, well ... but I get off topic. What I wanted to say is that there is A LOT of Choreography by Drew Onie in this production of the Bernstein - and indeed more actual ballet steps than in, say, Untouchables (which perhaps MAKES it fitting to be included here.) In any event IT IS WONDERFUL ... and the entire cast - including a touching Danny Mac ... is totally BOFFO! Buy your tickets now ... I have a feeling after its opening next week there are going to be very few left. It deserves to be sold out. It deserves to move. They just don't write shows like this anymore. What a genius Bernstein was. Such STUNNING variety - such brilliant orchestrations (thank you Mr. Derring) and colour throughout. It dazzles!! You can see why Megan Fairchild and Misty Copeland wanted to do Miss Turnstiles on Broadway but a season and a half ago. This would be a brilliant outing for Robbie Fairchild (or Amar Ramasar - who is to do Jigger in Carousel on Broadway next season) and Mrs. Fairchild - the truly extraordinary Tiler Peck. How I would love to see Brandon Lawrence (does he sing?) and Anna Rose O'Sullivan (who most definitely does) in it. Why? 'Cos this show is but unmitigated joy from top to bottom and oh, so Chock Full of Nuts!! As any old time New Yorker will tell you that means you can smell its coffee a mile off. It peculates from right up over the signage ... and its aroma - I promise you - is simply intoxicating.
  6. Are these at the very end of the month? I'm there for work .. and have tickets .... Excitement abounds
  7. Following a family trend ... I wonder if yet another brilliant balletic artist might here advance unto our horizon. How exciting might be that potential ... and, of course, this news - in and of itself - is joyous in any event
  8. Graham Fletcher was the original Bratfisch. I saw him do it when the ballet had its New York premiere - with some of its original 1978 cast still about in various cast sheet permutations I think - (I remember seeing both Wall and Eagling as Rudolf and Ferri as a particularly daring Mary and Park who was mesmeric as Larisch) at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1983. Here is an overall positive NYT review of that same which both (i) praises Mr. Fletcher's input and (ii) gives a very apt precis of both the work's strengths and weaknesses.
  9. Just out of personal curiosity ... (and only because I'm now a devoted fan) .... I am surprised that the truly glorious Brandon Lawrence is not given at least one principal crack .. much as he wasn't given a prince in Cinderella - as far as I recall. Does anyone have any idea why this might be? I can't imagine he is not hugely valued. His performance as Othello in the Moor's Pavane and in Wink were beyond thrilling. I don't believe from recent reviews that he is injured. I'm also surprised that the equally stunning Delia Mathews is not on these casting lists as well.
  10. In what I know - indeed I'm sure - is a fantasy world just now I would love to see Anna Rose O'Sullivan dance with McRae in The Dream. Her dramatic etching of the small role of Princess Louise in Mayerling (nowhere approaching the same thing as an Ashton Titania I realise) was entirely thrilling and the magic of her balletic artistry - be it as a vivacious Florine or anything else - has sparkled throughout this fine RB season. Such a performance could well be a landmark in what I'm sure is a brilliant career to come. I would so love to see such celebrated in cinemas as well. What are stars after all unless they are built and there is no doubt in my mind but that this very talented young lady is world class.
  11. Surely, balletyas, you jest - or - in any event - exaggerate. The last RB Sleeping Beauty (the king of all narratives) was on Tuesday, 14th March of this year and the first Mayerling (and some have argued - even here - that its narrative is over-stuffed) was on Saturday, 1st April. By my calculation that is less than two and a half weeks apart. Moreover, there are those I believe who would argue that there are narratives (i.e., "meaningful tales of human interaction") aplenty carved into Balanchine's Jewels. It's just that they are not stitched in a strictly linear fashion so as to demand a page and a half explanation in the cast sheet. Agree Osipova incandescent last night. The searing spectre of her rolled back 'Willi' eyes at the tag end of the penultimate scene had the shutters of my own fluttering. Not soon to be forgetten. Watson went out in glorious style - and I thought I caught a flash of understandable relief at the rise of his own solo call. Cowley, Campbell, Nunez, Yanowsky and all four of those obstinately dogged Hungarian officers cauterised the imagination in their vividly dramatic goosing of our heart ducts. Hayward and Avis went beyond that admirable marker in giving even fuller and eloquent flesh to their stated character's skeletons. In all: HIGHLY memorable.
  12. Am I alone in a wishing that rather than distressing over a cancellation by a wayward guest that we should be celebrating the glorious ever ready and brilliantly committed talents of our home team. They will come to the fore as they have throughout this season of joy. I for one can't wait to see the RBS Showcase to see what new inspiration is being wafted even as I type. There is so, SO much that is positive to look forward to.
  13. I am not surprised at this M&A announcement. Given this particular guest's track record his disappearance from any assignment is surely far from unexpected for any ballet company nowadays. Indeed, I think it is a boon for the Company. They really don't need guests just now. I'd love to see Ball - and - if not him - I'd love to see one of the younger dancers. I agree that Muntagirov is clearly unavailable for the assignment - but I think Richardson would be both characterful and apt. If only Hay was just a little taller he would be superb in this pairing. How lucky we are to be blessed with such glorious and committed home artists.
  14. I agree it would be great to have Campbell - but would not want to limit his dancing appearances. I think it would be great to have a selection of articulate dancers host - so the worldwide audience might be able to get to know them better. They could rotate - much as the Met does with its star hosts (e.g., Fleming, DiDonato, Domingo, etc.) After that brilliant BA talk, I'd love to see A. Rose O'Sullivan take on a couple. I'm sure she'd be brilliant too.
  15. Is this when it is entirely otherwise sold out at the RAH, Jules. That is, I think, a big ask ... but still it's nice to know that it is done. Last question: I assume that they don't advertise this ... and the information on standing is only available at the RAH box office directly. Am I correct in that assumption?