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RB The Illustrated 'Farewell'/The Wind/Untouchable: November 2017

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Well, now I've seen both new works twice - and actually could see the whole of the stage the second time - I thought I should post something about them.  I should say that both looked better on the second evening, from ground level, although to what extent that's actually an improvement in performance over the first night and to what extent it's simply the change of viewing position I can't say. 

 

For the Tharp: didn't like the new costumes much - and they did rather merge into the background.  The new part was of course very well performed, but I was getting a lot of feeling of "deja vu" throughout, and given that I haven't really seen that much Tharp that was a bit of a surprise.  I liked the older part more, especially Yasmine Naghdi, as I've indicated before, and was very impressed with Mayara Magri and Joseph Sissens.  The problem with being "on high" for the first night was that it was very clear that the parts involving Lamb and McRae had effectively been "tacked on" to the original: they were clearly operating on a different strip of stage from the other dancers, and not integrated at all, whereas from down below on the second night they appeared far more integrated and interacting with the "old" dancers - but then on the other hand some of the group dancing showed better from higher up, while from ground level it could look a little muddled and messy at times.

 

As for The Wind, well, if ever a ballet showed up differently from different parts of the auditorium it must be this one!  Sit on the right of the auditorium and your view is likely to be somewhat overwhelmed by the three large wind machines arranged in a row on the left-hand side of the stage (not to mention that you may not be able to see the whole of the railway line)  - they do rather give the impression of the rotors of a giant prairie combine harvester, though!  Sit on the left, and it's far more effective because they are virtually invisible.  It's rare that a ballet actually needs lengthening rather than cutting, but I agree with other posters who said this one needs to be longer: at the moment, it feels as though we're just running through it without getting to know anything about the characters en route, or caring about their situation.

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I should have added in my review that Mayara Magri was electric - I thought she was Osipova at first - and Joseph Sissens really dominated the stage.  However, not only did I find the costumes hideous and out of sync with the score, they made differentiation between the dancers difficult and this was not helped by he rather odd lighting. Yes, of course, Lamb and Macrae were fantastic but it was somehow all completely pointless.  Reminded me of one of those exam questions:  You have a stage to dance on: Dance!

 

For me The Ilustrated Farewell (really?) was PANTS!

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Would it be appropriate to take my 10 year old daughter to the performance? I've just noticed the "scenes of adult nature and sexual content" on the ROH website...

It's making me rethink taking her...Is it quite apparent or would it go over her head? 

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12 minutes ago, Tiredtoes said:

Would it be appropriate to take my 10 year old daughter to the performance? I've just noticed the "scenes of adult nature and sexual content" on the ROH website...

It's making me rethink taking her...Is it quite apparent or would it go over her head? 

It depends on your daughter. Of my 3 granddaughters, when they were 10 two I would have taken, one I wouldn't .

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1 hour ago, Tiredtoes said:

Would it be appropriate to take my 10 year old daughter to the performance? I've just noticed the "scenes of adult nature and sexual content" on the ROH website...

It's making me rethink taking her...Is it quite apparent or would it go over her head? 

I don't know about 'appropriate.'  Yes, there is some simulated sex and a murder in The Wind but nothing particularly offensive.  However, although I liked ballet when I was ten, the Triple Bill is really, IMHO, not the right thing.  The first one is about nothing at all - even if you revere Twyla Tharp - the second one is probably interesting but then the third one is really just a lot of stomping and some rather strange chanting.  Personally, if it were me, I would save my money and take her to see something else that is much more 'ballet' like.

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Thanks for your replies and input- I was supposed to see this one with a friend who can't go now- hence why I'm bringing my daughter now. She's a ballet dancer herself and we go to the ballet and opera several times a year so think I might go ahead and chance this one with her...although after reading all the comments we probably won't stay for Untouchable and get a head start home! It's the Twyla work I'm most interested in seeing! 

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I was determined to be disciplined and not comment or "like" people's posts to three ballets I have never seen! 

However this thread has been very entertaining so here I am making an unnecessary post!!

But well done all for making me feel perhaps I should have booked to see this triple even though it didn't appeal that much initially!!

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9 hours ago, Tiredtoes said:

..although after reading all the comments we probably won't stay for Untouchable and get a head start home! It's the Twyla work I'm most interested in seeing! 

 

hope you like 'Farewell' as much as I did. As for 'Untouchable', whilst i'm not a fan, its worth seeing at least the once so you get an impression of it. And you never know, might end up being your favourite of the three! :-)

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9 hours ago, Tiredtoes said:

Thanks for your replies and input- I was supposed to see this one with a friend who can't go now- hence why I'm bringing my daughter now. She's a ballet dancer herself and we go to the ballet and opera several times a year so think I might go ahead and chance this one with her...although after reading all the comments we probably won't stay for Untouchable and get a head start home! It's the Twyla work I'm most interested in seeing! 

 

1 minute ago, zxDaveM said:

 

hope you like 'Farewell' as much as I did. As for 'Untouchable', whilst i'm not a fan, its worth seeing at least the once so you get an impression of it. And you never know, might end up being your favourite of the three! :-)

 

I haven't seen Untouchable but I have seen several of Shechter's works over the years.  I've always enjoyed them and noticed a younger demographic too.  Your daughter may well enjoy his different style.

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I agree with Dave.  If your daughter isn't flagging, I would definitely stay for Untouchable.   It's worth seeing because it's so different.   I know someone who hated the first two but loved that one!  Do let us know what you think, Tiredtoes.

 

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On the other hand, it is one of those bills with very long intervals and not that much dance in between them, which might make her more likely to flag.  I know the stage equipment for "The Wind" is probably complex, but wonder whether 30 minutes either side is really necessary.  Had the programme been shorter, I might well have considered staying for the whole thing, but when a mixed bill is coming out the same length as a 3-act ballet while having considerably less content it doesn't tend to encourage me.

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Interesting point, Alison.  I couldn't work out why I was so tired in the second interval.  I usually don't flop until I get on the train.  There is something tiring, I think, about having to absorb three lots of new content.  Having enjoyed the Schechter last time around, this time I found it tedious and just a little embarrassing.

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Thanks all!! Ok, you've changed my mind- I will try to stay for Untouchable after all! (As long as she isn't flagging) She has an audition early Sunday morning though so I don't want her to be too exhausted!, which is why I had thought not to bother with the last piece if it had such mixed reviews...but now I'm intrigued! Will see how she's doing after the Wind. 

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Tiredtoes my dd is 11 and watched the pre-general. She thought both The Illustated Farewell and Untouchable were amazing in different ways. They went as a group of Mid associates, and they, along with the WL students, were taken out for The Wind, as we were told by the RBS team that it wasn't appropriate for children in years 7,8 and 9 to watch. I haven't seen it so I can't comment on my opinion, but they may have been airing on the side of caution as I understand the storyline is very adult in theme, however the ROH website gives it a 12+ rating.  You know your dd better than anyone however, and if it was me I would have probably let my dd watch it with some discussion, so hope you have a fabulous time (and good luck to her for her audition ⭐️).

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Well an interesting evening at ROH. I enjoyed the Tharp - but agree it seemed like two halves not quite joined together. 

 

The Wind - a gothic spaghetti western. Brilliant dancing from Ed Watson - made me think of an albino dervish from the Bayadere. Certainly saw the "bum lift" yesterday and Osipova seemed to control the costume without problems. She does unhinged very believably - similarities to Facada I thought.

 

The wind effects were very clever.

 

i did not stay for the final piece so can't comment on that.

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I went on Monday night.and it was a bit of a mixed bag for me.

 

I loved the McRae/Lamb section of The Illustrated Farewell.  I even liked the costumes:lol:although I was in the stalls so I appreciate greyish costumes on a plain black background might not have exactly carried well.  I think what I mostly loved about it was their performance rather than the choreography...they both just seemed to radiate joy so I was quite wrapped up in it.  Also I love the music for this piece so that always helps.  I don't think there was anything ground breaking about the choreography for the Lamb/McRae part but they both sold it very well and I really appreciated them.  But then once they disappeared it went a bit downhill for me.  It just felt like there was no connection between the McRae/Lamb section and the other part.  It seemed a strange combination to me.  Obviously the rest of the dancers danced brilliantly as always but I wasn't moved by any of it and I think I just didn't really like the choreography of the older part.  Still, it was worth seeing.

 

I have some mixed feelings about The Wind.  For the positives, I would say it certainly wasn't boring!  I liked how bold it was, how Pita created some powerful imagery and took a lot of risks.  I would rather see something a bit over the top than something just ok that leaves me feeling uninspired.  I loved the costumes (including the crazy bridal veil!) and the score.  I liked the setting, and I thought he told the story well.  I thought Natalia's performance was really strong (everyone was great but she was the only one with quite a lot to do) and she acted everything really well.  I did actually think the whole wind machine thing was quite fun and I liked the way they were incorporated in the set (I thought they were a bit overpowering but I think maybe that was the point so I was ok with it). 

 

For the negatives I would say the whole, you know, ballet side of things!  :lol:  I just think Pita nearly had all the goods to create a really unusual, well done, original ballet and then didn't get there because in my opinion he didn't create any memorable choreography.  So that is a shame.  

 

I didn't stay for Untouchable...to be honest I just thought it was bloody awful the first time round so I couldn't face it again!

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I’m rather late to the party with this particular bill having only attended last night’s final performance, although once was probably enough.

 

My opinion is broadly is broadly in-line with previous posts finding the Tharp more sympathetic than expected despite the awkward joins between new and old & the occasional ‘jazz hands’ interpolations. The dancing (notably Lamb and a substitute Sambe) was animated and playful throughout and - if not damned by faint praise or weak pairings - the strongest of the three pieces of the evening.

 

The Wind was near dreadful with the now rather typical trend at the Royal Ballet to throw practically everything into the staging - although even that was a clumsy misfire here with awkward positioning (pity those on the left) and a malfunctioning push-me pull-me not to mention tangled costumes - with insufficient attention to dance to convey narrative let alone emotion. Poor Tomas Mock had practically no dance time at all. The motifs were literal and clumsy to the point of distraction and quite frankly sub-Seven Brides... The lukewarm audience response to the piece was palpable. It would have been more effective to reduce this piece to a four-hander with a tussle of kinds between wife, husband and predator with wind conveyed more figuratively by the Mawarra motif (a wasted Watson).

 

Untouchable remains an exercise of interminable stylised shuffling which would sit more easily at Sadler’s Wells not within the ROH and certainly not within the wasted classical lexicon of this company. It’s not awful just within the wrong frame. The ‘Faragian’ chanting however remains puerile. I might be wrong but were there not dreadlocks in this piece’s first outing a couple of years ago? It’s either my imagination or they’ve been shorn this time. The combat gear, alas, remains. 

 

A very variable evening indeed and one wishes O’Hare would take a firmer grip on the tendency for the stage styling over dance content of recent years which betrays - if not too strong a word - the near total dance narratives of Ashton and MacMillan (how the assault scene in The Wind was revealed for the crude blocking it was when considered against the sexual tensions of Mayerling).

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Hello RichmondHill and welcome out of the lurking shadows!  I hope you will continue to join in now that you have broken the posting ice.

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2 hours ago, Richmondhill said:

I’m rather late to the party with this particular bill having only attended last night’s final performance, although once was probably enough.

 

My opinion is broadly is broadly in-line with previous posts finding the Tharp more sympathetic than expected despite the awkward joins between new and old & the occasional ‘jazz hands’ interpolations. The dancing (notably Lamb and a substitute Sambe) was animated and playful throughout and - if not damned by faint praise or weak pairings - the strongest of the three pieces of the evening.

 

The Wind was near dreadful with the now rather typical trend at the Royal Ballet to throw practically everything into the staging - although even that was a clumsy misfire here with awkward positioning (pity those on the left) and a malfunctioning push-me pull-me not to mention tangled costumes - with insufficient attention to dance to convey narrative let alone emotion. Poor Tomas Mock had practically no dance time at all. The motifs were literal and clumsy to the point of distraction and quite frankly sub-Seven Brides... The lukewarm audience response to the piece was palpable. It would have been more effective to reduce this piece to a four-hander with a tussle of kinds between wife, husband and predator with wind conveyed more figuratively by the Mawarra motif (a wasted Watson).

 

Untouchable remains an exercise of interminable stylised shuffling which would sit more easily at Sadler’s Wells not within the ROH and certainly not within the wasted classical lexicon of this company. It’s not awful just within the wrong frame. The ‘Faragian’ chanting however remains puerile. I might be wrong but were there not dreadlocks in this piece’s first outing a couple of years ago? It’s either my imagination or they’ve been shorn this time. The combat gear, alas, remains. 

 

A very variable evening indeed and one wishes O’Hare would take a firmer grip on the tendency for the stage styling over dance content of recent years which betrays - if not too strong a word - the near total dance narratives of Ashton and MacMillan (how the assault scene in The Wind was revealed for the crude blocking it was when considered against the sexual tensions of Mayerling).

Oh dear.  How differently we each see things.  The people around me found the Tharp a blur of nothing and disappointing as much was expected from this choreographer whose work, for me, seemed dull and unimaginative, only mildly redeemed by the joyful exuberance of Lamb and Macrae.  At the performance I attended The Wind was cheered.   Yes, improvements could be made - it would benefit from being longer which would allow greater characterisation - but the staging was wonderfully imaginative and brilliantly atmospheric.  I shall long remember Ed Watson’s fabulous dancing behind the polythene and the way the wind machines were used added to the drama.  A flawed piece - probably.  But innovative and exciting, Certainly.

 

Untouchable I felt didn’t stand up to a second viewing but Schechter does important work and I was delighted that the RB chose to commission him.  IMHO KH is leading the company brilliantly and I am happy to see him experiment.  Undoubtedlly there will be mistakes along the way (Acosta’s Carmen, Raven Girl and this latest Tharp) but that’s surely the price we pay for his dynamic leadership.  RB May be a classical ballet company but I am of the opinion that we all benefit from the fact that it’s repertoire is not confined in a straitjacket of traditional choreography.

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Yes, we are all so different! Thank you Penelopesimpson for making me feel happy about my view of the triple bill and O’Hares leadership. I had a great evening seeing ballets that were new to me. Loved the Insight of Nutcracker night before and then a second journey to see such different ballet. I enjoyed music of Illustrated Farewell and the dancing of Lamb and McRae. Mayara Magri was so different in this ballet from the Rose Fairy of the Insight night before. I shall enjoy watching out for her in the future. Not a great ballet,disjointed but easy watching. Can’t see too much of McRaes brilliant batterie. 

I really enjoyed The Wind. Amazing use of fabrics and wind. So many comments say it could do with extension and I do agree. All crammed in and lacking detail. Loved the music/sound, didn’t expect to. The Insight demo by Ed Watson of signs and gestures added to my enjoyment. What an amazing, versatile dancer he is. Loved his make up and costume. Didn’t like McRaes pants by the way! Pity wagon had a hiccup but didn’t spoil anything. I felt really lucky to see Francesca Hayward, what a moving performance. Can’t wait to see more.

untouchable was a real contrast. The rhythm caught me and my wheelchair was rocking, I longed to join in! Lighting, costume and angular  movement and contrasting movement round the stage were visually stimulating. However it did go on a bit too long for me. Maybe I was tired but I was ready for the end.

A good evenings entertainment for me, ok not groundbreaking but what is ballet for? To entertain, challenge and give pleasure. I give no apologies for having had a really good evening with very talented versatile dancers.

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Thanks to all for sharing such a range of opinions.  

 

I see Jillykins refers to the Nutcracker and Wind Insights.  I don't know if she has had opportunity to see the Twyla Tharp Insight but it's still on line and I would strongly recommend it.  

 

http://www.roh.org.uk/news/watch-live-royal-ballet-rehearsals-for-twyla-tharps-the-illustrated-farewell-on-25-october-2017

 

I also thought Jan Parry's Dance Tabs review very perceptive - it's good to have the space to develop a fuller appreciation of the Triple Bill.

 

http://dancetabs.com/2017/11/royal-ballet-the-illustrated-farewell-the-wind-untouchable-london/

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1 hour ago, JohnS said:

Thanks to all for sharing such a range of opinions.  

 

I see Jillykins refers to the Nutcracker and Wind Insights.  I don't know if she has had opportunity to see the Twyla Tharp Insight but it's still on line and I would strongly recommend it.  

 

http://www.roh.org.uk/news/watch-live-royal-ballet-rehearsals-for-twyla-tharps-the-illustrated-farewell-on-25-october-2017

 

I also thought Jan Parry's Dance Tabs review very perceptive - it's good to have the space to develop a fuller appreciation of the Triple Bill.

 

http://dancetabs.com/2017/11/royal-ballet-the-illustrated-farewell-the-wind-untouchable-london/

John, I agree with you about the Twarp Insight which I much enjoyed.  But for me she just didn't walk the walk, it was all talking theory that culminated in not much at all.  I couldn't suppress the feeling that other choreographers had simply overtaken her and that what she was as modern and groundbreaking was really rather ordinary.  Interestingly, I had some Americans next to me who were clearly fans of Tharp and they were openly disappointed - which made me feel a bit better!

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3 hours ago, Jillykins said:

Yes, we are all so different! Thank you Penelopesimpson for making me feel happy about my view of the triple bill and O’Hares leadership. I had a great evening seeing ballets that were new to me. Loved the Insight of Nutcracker night before and then a second journey to see such different ballet. I enjoyed music of Illustrated Farewell and the dancing of Lamb and McRae. Mayara Magri was so different in this ballet from the Rose Fairy of the Insight night before. I shall enjoy watching out for her in the future. Not a great ballet,disjointed but easy watching. Can’t see too much of McRaes brilliant batterie. 

I really enjoyed The Wind. Amazing use of fabrics and wind. So many comments say it could do with extension and I do agree. All crammed in and lacking detail. Loved the music/sound, didn’t expect to. The Insight demo by Ed Watson of signs and gestures added to my enjoyment. What an amazing, versatile dancer he is. Loved his make up and costume. Didn’t like McRaes pants by the way! Pity wagon had a hiccup but didn’t spoil anything. I felt really lucky to see Francesca Hayward, what a moving performance. Can’t wait to see more.

untouchable was a real contrast. The rhythm caught me and my wheelchair was rocking, I longed to join in! Lighting, costume and angular  movement and contrasting movement round the stage were visually stimulating. However it did go on a bit too long for me. Maybe I was tired but I was ready for the end.

A good evenings entertainment for me, ok not groundbreaking but what is ballet for? To entertain, challenge and give pleasure. I give no apologies for having had a really good evening with very talented versatile dancers.

Jillykins - I was riveted by the pants!  Not being engaged with the dance, my mind was wandering along the lines of biological washing powder!  God, they were unattractive - what was that about?

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What was up with McRae?  Was he injured?  I'd thought Sambe was, so am a bit confused!

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