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Russian Seasons of XXI Century, London Coliseum

Directed by Andris Liepa

★★
Pros: A nice evening for children with lovely dancing, bright costumes and panto characters.
Cons: The whole night lacked coherence and some unfortunate technical hitches made everything a little stilted.

Our Verdict: By no fault of the dancers, this company struggle to pull off a night of entertaining ballet.

I didn’t really know what to expect when attending this performance.

Courtesy of The London Coliseum

There was a scant programme giving little away about the content but the auditorium soon packed out and it looked to be a popular show.

The director Andris Liepa has revived and restored well known pieces from the 20th century many of which are critically acclaimed and received resounding praise when they were first performed by some of the best known ballerinas and dancers from the time.

Regrettably, this triplet of ballets felt mismatched and lacked coherence. Added to this was an unfortunate night of mishaps including an injured prima ballerina meaning Cleopatra could not take place and problems with the lighting, resulting in the audience sitting in silence for 10 minutes followed by an unscheduled interval, all of which added to the overall disjointed feeling of the show. Due to complete set changes, it took 5-10 minutes between each to get going. A speech from the director about the next ballet made it feel more like a variety performance.

Apart from the technical hitches, the dancing was pleasant to watch. The ballets chosen were quite pantomime-esque making them good for children but not so much for the adults in the room. Aside from this, the dancers are, undoubtedly, very good. Xander Parish was incredible, leaping higher than seems possible and performing incredible pirouettes and footwork with such ease.

This was a very traditional, classical ballet. The first two, Le Spectre De La Rose The Firebird, were well danced. Some impressive and graceful pointe work was shown by the Firebird, Alexandra Timofeeva. However, the choreography lacked expression and power. The final piece was slightly more expressive with the gold slave and girl having moments of passion. However this soon turned into another show piece and there was little emotion or narrative to their dance of, what was supposed to be, love and lust.

The costumes were pretty, the setting of the London Colisuem is incredible and the dancing cannot be faulted. Unfortunately, the music was lacking; no orchestra was present and the speakers created a rather tinny resonance, the sets were not as grand as I had hoped for and the choreography was stifled.

I am not sure that this will make new ballet goers fall in love with this dance form nor do I think ballet lovers will be impressed. However, children and those who understand the technicalities of the dances will probably enjoy it and the children in the audience certainly seemed to on the night.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!

Russian Season Of XXI Century is now no longer running. For more information, please visit: http://www.eno.org/see-whats-on/see-whats-on-events.php

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Founded in 2011, Everything Theatre started life as a pokey blog run by two theatre enthusiasts and – thanks to the Entry Pass Scheme for 16-25 year olds – regular National Theatre goers. Today, we are run by part-time volunteers from a wide array of backgrounds. Among our various contributors are people who work in theatre, but also people who work in law, medicine, events, marketing and even psychiatry! We are all united by our love for the London theatre scene.