To sleep, perchance to dream… [Birmingham Royal Ballet: Autumn Celebration]

My laptop died last week. Hopefully not dead forever but we shall see – it just stopped charging which I think means either a new battery or a new charger. Thing is, chums, it only had a new battery a few months ago. When my last laptop died (the motherboard fried, oops) it was faintly traumatic, end of the world, ALL THE MELODRAMA. This time I’m mildly narked but nothing else really, I just need to rescue the contents of my hard drive…

Techno-drama aside, I now have to dig into the recesses of my mind to recall my trip to see Birmingham Royal Ballet on Friday. The problem is that the intervening weekend featured a significant amount of wine at a Hallowe’en party. It also featured a LOT of cleaning (yay clean house!), ironing ALL THE THINGS and winding up watching Downton Abbey (oh the ~feels) curled up on the floor with my eyes closed (over tired). For a Monday morning, however, I feel remarkably chipper which suggests that finally the Never Ending Cough is abating…

I confess that my initial reaction to the length of the Autumn Celebration programme was to balk and, quite seriously, consider bailing on The Dream because I was that tired. Tell you what, jolly glad I didn’t. I’ve left my cast sheet at home (in a fit of organisation doing ALL THE CLEANING I’ve actually already filed the programme away, shame on me!) so I wouldn’t expect great shakes from this review…

Curtain up on The Grand Tour about Noel Coward and chums on a boat. For all it’s charm, there was something lacking in it – a sort of disengagement with the characters. I had a vague knowledge of who these people were but not enough for it to make sense. That said it was a charming piece and, okay, I got ambushed by ~feels during the pas de deux for the American Lady and the head steward. The Italian stowaways were entertaining too but mostly I couldn’t quite bring myself to care enough about the others which was a shame because it had so much promise. I’d see it again though.

Birmingham Royal Ballet: The Grand Tour

The middle piece was David Bintley’s homage to the Olympics in the form of Faster which was an interesting piece – I had particular fun playing ‘identify the sport’ in the first part of it (there was only one I failed to get and suspect it may have been archery but wouldn’t like to put money on it) and enjoyed the gymnastic pas de trois probably most. The middle section appears to have blurred in my memory, finding the pas de deux overly long before it burst into a fizzingly energetic final section (a little too much running around aside).

The final piece of the night was Ashton’s sublime The Dream to Mendelsohn’s achingly gorgeous score. It’s one of those ballets I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of and BRB have some incredible magic touch with Ashton’s choreography… Natasha Oughtred’s Tatiana has a veritable sparkle, whilst William Bracewell’s Oberon shows so much promise but the show was really stolen for me by Tzu-Chao Chou’s Puck which was just incredible. The interplay between the four lovers was jolly and there’s always something so entertaining about the Demetrius-Lysander man fight. It’s one of those pieces that can’t help but send you out with a smile and a feeling of joy. My only gripe? I wanted to go home and invest in the score from iTunes and because I can’t turn my laptop on I couldn’t. Woe, verily it is me.

[Images via the Google machine, click to link back to original source. Opinions all very much my own.]

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