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BRB Midscale - Southwest 2013


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Well, with sats all finished I decided to take dd and not worry too much about a rare late night.  So glad we went. I only booked last night and i think there were plenty of tickets still available for both matinee and evening tomorrow. I hardly know where to start but we both loved it, its late now so all i will say is if you can make it, go. will try and make more sense tomorrow

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I saw the Wednesday matinee. It was good to see the Lang piece again. Although there were some cliched bits, overall the choreography was very enjoyable and the Molo was inventive and fun. The Pavane was lovely but I was disappointed with Iain Mackay who, fortunately, redeemed himself later on as Captain Belaye in Pineapple Poll. Momoko Hirata was exquisite in the Don Q pdd and was well partnered by Tzu-Chao Chou who had impressed earlier in the Lang. Though the piece was well danced (and it was certainly better danced than at Alina's gala) it couldn't touch the recent Vasiliev/Osipova one and I'm left wonder whether any pair can come close to matching them in terms of excitement and bravura dancing. It was good to have the opportunity to see BRB's up and coming dancers in prominent roles: Tzu-Chao, Maureya (in the Giselle pdd - charming - and as Poll) and Brandon Lawrence.

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BRB's midscales tours have always been a delight and this year's has been no exception!

 

I saw one performance in Cheltenham and all three in Truro.  I loved Lyric Pieces when I saw it last year and I enjoyed it even more this time round.  I find it lyrical and inventive.  As the solo lady both Yvette Knight and Delia Matthews were gorgeous.  In an interesting contrast that may not have worked the male duet was danced by Iain Mackay/Mathias Dingman and Brandon Lawrence/Tzu Chao Chou.  Iain and Mathias are well matched height-wise and Brandon and Tzu Chao are not but both combinations of dancers looked superb.  Jenna Roberts had 2 partners in the duet - Iain Mackay and Brandon Lawrence and both duets were truly sublime.  The company is so lucky to have Jonathan Higgins as pianist - he performance of the score was outstanding.

 

The bite-sized section comprised the Harvest duet from Giselle, Pavane and Don Q.  I enjoyed all 3 casts of Pavane but I must give special mention to Ambra Vallo and William Bracewell who were absolutely delicious together.

 

Pineapple Poll rounded off the evening.  It is such enormous fun that you cannot but go home on a high.

 

As I said, I enjoyed all the performances but the Saturday evening performance in Truro sparkled from start to finish.  Maureya Liebowitz was absolutely divine as Poll - there was a beautiful contrast between her initial, rather cruel, rejection of Jasper and her final realisation that she loved him.  Iain Mackay was totally hilarious but never over the top as the Captain.  James Barton has got to be one of the best actors in the company if not in the UK and he was a total delight as Jasper.  The whole company put their heart and soul into this performance and it showed.

 

It was a wonderful way to end my weekend.  All I can now say is "Roll on next year!".

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This was my first time seeing BRBand the only ones Ive seen before are the big family classics with dd. I really did not know what to expect from Lyric pieces or  Pineapple Poll. We thoroughly enjoyed the whole show. Lyric pieces was stunning, I particularlyenjoyed Jenna Robarts and Iain Mackay in the phantom duet. Yvette knight also caught my eye and dd was in awe of  the Momoko Hirata/tzu-chao Chou partnership in the Don Q pdd! Altogether a lovely evening and well worth the ticket price

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I saw the first night at The Swan Theatre and agree that all the performances were very good. A special mention for young Laura Day as Blanche. Those of us who have watched her progress from the school to BRB via Metamorphosis with Ed Watson are hoping to see much more of here in the future. As Blanche, in Pineapple Poll she was hilarious. A fine dance actress in the making.

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Momoko Hirata was exquisite in the Don Q pdd and was well partnered by Tzu-Chao Chou who had impressed earlier in the Lang. Though the piece was well danced (and it was certainly better danced than at Alina's gala) it couldn't touch the recent Vasiliev/Osipova one and I'm left wonder whether any pair can come close to matching them in terms of excitement and bravura dancing.

 

Yes, she was good, wasn't she?  But despite everything, I think my "best ever" is still Yoshida/Kumakawa with SWRB, I think it still was at the time, at the old Sadler's Wells sometime in the mid-90s.  But then perhaps we can't really fairly compare the piece danced in context with the gala offering - after all, they are very different.

 

The turn-out, though, was disappointing.  Given the location, conveniently partway between Birmingham and London, I would have hoped for more people to think it worth travelling to see them.

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Alison, you make a fair point about context. I thought that the audience was very reasonable for a mid-week term-time matinee, particularly as it was a mixed programme. The Thursday matinee for Great Gatsby was exceptional in being almost full. For those who saw this programme, what were the audiences like for the other performances, not just at High Wycome but generally?

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Yes, she was good, wasn't she?  But despite everything, I think my "best ever" is still Yoshida/Kumakawa with SWRB, I think it still was at the time, at the old Sadler's Wells sometime in the mid-90s.  But then perhaps we can't really fairly compare the piece danced in context with the gala offering - after all, they are very different.

 

The turn-out, though, was disappointing.  Given the location, conveniently partway between Birmingham and London, I would have hoped for more people to think it worth travelling to see them.

 

 

Alison - I quite agree about the Yoshida/Kumakawa performance - I have never forgotten it either!  In fact, that summer Miyako guested with RB performing the full Don Q with Basilio.  After the Wells, I went straight home (oh happy days when I could get home after an evening performance in London) and booked a ticket for the ROH performance the following day.  They were wonderful!

 

I've never seen Osipova and Vasiliev live, only on YouTube.  I quite agree that they seem enormously exciting in a "gala" situation but I am not sure I would enjoy it so much in a full performance.  I often prefer the "less is more" approach.

 

Going back to BRB, I think in these tours (and at Symphony Hall) some of the stages are so small that the performances are actually spectacular in their restraint and it's a miracle the dancers don't end up on the knees of the front row of the audience.  I know some of the stages are a decent size but Cheltenham, for example, was the size of half a pocket handkerchief!  And as for the unusual rake at Buxton (but that is for another posting!)......

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I would definitely agree with Tony, when I saw the triple bill at Lighthouse, Poole, Laura Day was excellent as Blanche.  In this cast she seemed to be the only one who really captured the spirit of the piece.  My mother and I have seen this many, many times going right back to Sadlers Wells RB tours so feel qualified to judge!

 

The three pas de deux were all good, but with Momoko Hirata and Tzu-Chao Chou outstanding in the Harvest pas de deux.  They were also particularly enjoyable in Lyric Pieces.  I loved the choreography in this work, and the smaller black paper stools and shapes, but found the big ones overbearing and rather than enhancing the dancing they overshadowed it.  Also sadly towards the end there was a total collapse of the two big walls, although the dancers remedied it quickly.

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That's good news for ballet enthusiasts in the High Wycome area. I may be wrong about this, but the stage looks quite large for a provincial theatre. One thing that the company may want to look at though is the flooring. At the performance which I saw last week the dancers' ballet shoes (the men's more than the women's) did "squeak" quite a bit. I don't know whether this is something that can be remedied.

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Indeed they did, but I've noticed they haven't tended to feature in recent Dance Consortium tours the way they used to.  They used to be a great way of seeing people like Paul Taylor and Mark Morris out of London, so an increase in dance performances would be most welcome.  Talking to patrons at the intervals, quite a few of them had been coming to dance performances at Wycombe Swan for decades, and certainly knew their stuff.

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