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Birmingham Royal Ballet - La Fille Mal Gardée - Summer 2014


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BRB open their run of La Fille Mal Gardee in Birmingham tonight before moving on to Nottingham at the end of the month.

 

Here is a video the Company has released showing Rory Mackay rehearsing the role of the Widow:

 

 

 

Please use this thread for thoughts on the performances.

 

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I just wanted to add a warning for those going to Birmingham who haven't been there for a while: the redevelopment of New Street Station and the shopping centre means that there doesn't appear to be any access to the station at present on the Hippodrome side of the station, so make sure you allow yourself plenty of time for the detour round to the other side!

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I just wanted to add a warning for those going to Birmingham who haven't been there for a while: the redevelopment of New Street Station and the shopping centre means that there doesn't appear to be any access to the station at present on the Hippodrome side of the station, so make sure you allow yourself plenty of time for the detour round to the other side!

 

Good point Alison. It's a challenge at New Street! The Hippodrome's website advises people to use the Hill Street exit and that's what I used on my last 2 visits. There is a flight of steps down on Hill Street exit from the station to street level but there is a lift for people with disabilities. I really hope it's working on Saturday for the friend I am with when we go to Fille matinee!

 

I can't wait until the New Street station work is finished - the Hippodrome itself has such wonderful disability access and so many seats for wheelchair users. It's just a fabulous theatre in so many ways and I have lots of BRB performances booked for the next year!

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I saw this last night and found much to enjoy. I was lucky to see the first cast and can only praise the amazing Michael O'Hare who remains one of the greatest character artists we have. I am not sure that I share the view expressed by many that Mathias Dingman as Alain was the star of the show. However, I do congratulate him for doing so well despite being utterly cast against type. Here undoubtedly is a Colas of the future. He was very amusing but, for me, he missed the pathos and vulnerability of the party. I think some of this was due to his height.

 

The other person I would like to mention was Luke Scaufuss as the flute boy. I must confess to a strong bias here as I remember his father as one of my all time favourite Colases. That apart, Luke has lovely feet and legs together with a carriage which shows his pedigree.

 

One negative point, I was less impressed with the revised light show. Having seen the ballet for 35 years I do realise that it is raining for part of act two without needing the point hammered home like that. I was amazed we didn't get to have a rainbow as well.

Edited by Two Pigeons
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I saw both performances on Thursday.

 

In the afternoon we enjoyed a joyous performance with Momoko Hirata (making her debut as Lise?) and Joe Caley, James Barton was Widow Simone and Tzu-Chao Chou Alain.

 

I just love Joe Caley as Colas - he is so full of fun and romance and he dances the challenging choreography with apparent ease.  He and Momoko are a tremedous on-stage partnership.  Momoko was a total delight as Lise, chafing at the bit to be with Colas and very affectionate and joyful with her mother.  James Barton is wonderful as the Widow with equal measures of exasperation and love for Lise and gently flirtatious with Thomas.

 

It was one of those afternoons with magic dust in the air and a performance I shall long remember.

 

In the evening we had another treat with Elisha Willis and Jamie Bond as Lise and Colas.  Rory Mackay used a broader brush to create the Widow and was very enjoyable.  Elisha was a sassy Lise and Jamie was every inch the cheeky chappy Colas.  James Barton was very moving as Alain - he played the role as a young man who had absolutely no social skills, perhaps because of a solitary upbringing, but was trying very hard.  He created loads of laughs but equally put a lump in my throat.

 

Another delight of the evening performance was Lewis Turner as the flute boy.

 

The whole company is looking on wonderful form and I am anticipating the matinee tomorrow!

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One negative point, I was less impressed with the revised light show. Having seen the ballet for 35 years I do realise that it is raining for part of act two without needing the point hammered home like that. I was amazed we didn't get to have a rainbow as well.

 

Well, yes.  Anyone who knows their weather lore knows that if the sky is as luridly red in the morning as this one was, it's a bad sign.  It was obvious that a really bad thunderstorm was on the way :)

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Well I spent this afternoon (15/06) in 7th Heaven!!

 

I saw the most magical of performances of La Fille Mal Gardee this afternoon.  Maureya Lebowitz was making her debut as Lise with Chi Cao as her Colas.  From the very start of the performance you could tell there was magic dust in the air!

 

Maureya was just sublime in the role.  It was very hard to believe it was a debut, as she gave such a lovely nuanced performance that not only gave a great depth to her characterisation but was so beautifully danced too.  There were some lovely touches.  I particularly liked the way when she moved the mixing bowl after Colas had been tasting (but she didn't know he had been there) that she looked in the bowl and realised some had gone and that it must have been Colas!  A myriad of expressions in a nano-second but so telling.  I also loved her rapport with Rory Mackay as Widow Simone.  Sometimes their movements were so alike that they really did look like mother and daughter - and a loving mother and daughter at that!

 

Chi Cao was on top form as Colas.  He and Maureya were wonderful together.  The Fanny Elssler pdd was particularly scintillating and their final duet in Act 3 brought a lump to my throat.

 

Kit Holder was a very fine Alain indeed - again he played the role as a gauche young man with no social skills and I find this interpretation very moving.  He and Maureya had a lovely rapport too.

 

All the company rose to the occasion and it was a wonderful performance from start to finish.  Thanks BRB for another fabulous and memorable afternoon.

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I was lucky enough to watch yesterdays performance as well, after your advice I took my 9 year old daughter.  It was the best ballet we have seen so far.  Maureya was magical she truly looked like gravity had given her a miss and she acted the part beautifully.  My daughter was mesmerized from start to finish, and as she had done a JA workshop over Easter for this ballet as well as she sat in her seat she danced the dance with the chickens. A ballet I shall remember for a very long time. 

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Maureya was just sublime in the role.  It was very hard to believe it was a debut, as she gave such a lovely nuanced performance that not only gave a great depth to her characterisation but was so beautifully danced too. 

 

A full calendar and an empty bank account meant I couldn't see this production, but it's fantastic to hear glowing reviews of Maureya's debut. I've really enjoyed all her performances whenever I've seen her so it's great to hear she's adding to her repertoire with such aplomb. Bring on the 14/15 season. :) 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm just home from seeing Fille in my home town of Nottingham this evening and I'm still practically skipping around with joyfulness. It's such an uplifting, feel good ballet. Lise and Colas were danced superbly by Maureya Lebovitz and Chi Cao and right from the start, there was intense chemistry between them and you knew that nothing on earth could stop them living happily ever after together forever. Every gesture was so heartfelt and full of meaning. Maureya really is a beautifully expressive dancer - I've not seen her dance a leading role before and I was blown away. 

 

Alain was Kit Holder and he was brilliantly funny, as was Rory Mackay as Widow Simone.

 

I was with my elderly Dad tonight, as he wanted to take me for a birthday treat. He's rarely been to a ballet so I was a bit worried he would be bored or wouldn't get it but no - he laughed out loud all the way through and came out feeling much the same as me, as in skipping inside with happiness and joy.He also said how much the mime, acting and facial expressions 'told the story'. I hadn't filled him in much on the plot but he said he got it all completely. It goes to show that ballets can speak volumes and you don't need to be an expert to be touched by its incredible power of telling a story without words.

 

Anyway, wonderful show tonight. Going to bed happy. BRB always seems to make me feel that way, they are such an on form company. I can now feel justified buying a big pile of BRB tickets already for next season......!!

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Fille at Nottingham was superb. I saw 3 performances and was enormously impressed by the Company, not least in the way it dealt with the consequences of many injuries in the Company and the restricted stage space. All performances had life, commitment and a wonderful sense of fun, as well as the highest dance standards.

In the Thursday matinee cast I was bowled over by the intelligent attention to the detail of performance. Nao, Cesar and Michael (O Hare) were so in control, not only of the dancing but also the truth of characterisation. Nothing came over as false or forced and Nao Sakuma especially seemed relaxed in the role.

 

James Barton's Alain reinforced my belief that he is one of the best I have ever seen in the part, and over 50 years I have seen many ! He gets all the humour in the role but also manages to create a rounded character, and one whose distress in Act 111 is truly moving. Congratulations also to Kit Holder for a very intelligent and personal reading of the role.

 

Finally how superb Maureya Lebowitz was in her (second?) attempt at Lise. Wonderful footwork, glorious self confident dancing and a really sunny but feisty interpretation. She was beautifully supported by Chi Cao, nursing a wrist injury but relaxing into the role.

 

Just one small criticism. I think Rory Mackay needs to soften Widow Simone in the early scenes. We must see the generous person behind the crotchety old dame, or the later Widow seems to come from nowhere.

 

Above all what a wonderful company this is. It is such a pity that so much of the "National"(?) press ignores it.

It is good to hear that BB is going to make Nottingham a regular venue.

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Fille at Nottingham was superb. I saw 3 performances and was enormously impressed by the Company, not least in the way it dealt with the consequences of many injuries in the Company and the restricted stage space. All performances had life, commitment and a wonderful sense of fun, as well as the highest dance standards.

In the Thursday matinee cast I was bowled over by the intelligent attention to the detail of performance. Nao, Cesar and Michael (O Hare) were so in control, not only of the dancing but also the truth of characterisation. Nothing came over as false or forced and Nao Sakuma especially seemed relaxed in the role.

 

James Barton's Alain reinforced my belief that he is one of the best I have ever seen in the part, and over 50 years I have seen many ! He gets all the humour in the role but also manages to create a rounded character, and one whose distress in Act 111 is truly moving. Congratulations also to Kit Holder for a very intelligent and personal reading of the role.

 

Finally how superb Maureya Lebowitz was in her (second?) attempt at Lise. Wonderful footwork, glorious self confident dancing and a really sunny but feisty interpretation. She was beautifully supported by Chi Cao, nursing a wrist injury but relaxing into the role.

 

Just one small criticism. I think Rory Mackay needs to soften Widow Simone in the early scenes. We must see the generous person behind the crotchety old dame, or the later Widow seems to come from nowhere.

 

Above all what a wonderful company this is. It is such a pity that so much of the "National"(?) press ignores it.

It is good to hear that BB is going to make Nottingham a regular venue.

great review & welcome to the forum

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Welcome to the Forum, Barnes2 and thank you for telling us about the Fille performances this week.

 

Yes, Thursday evening's performance was her second in the role.  I loved her debut and she has deepened her interpretation in just 2 weeks and 3 performances.  She was incandescent at the matinee this afternoon!

 

I do hope we will hear more from you.

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