Liam Scarlett at 24 is the youngest choreographer to have a work on the main stage. His earlier pieces show he has the potential to be a great choreographer and the world premiere of Asphodel Meadows confirms this. Asphodel Meadows is a neutral place, neither Hell nor the Elysian Fields, but part of the Greek mythological underworld where souls are sent for eternity. Tutu-free and costumed in bland colours with a monochrome backcloth, stark lighting and using Poulencs double piano concerto, well played by Robert Clark and Kate Shipway, the work has a sense of emotion in the duets, especially Bennet Gartside with Tamara Rojo. With three leading couples and seven other couples, at 23 minutes it is short and a tad sombre and cool, with some lush flowing movements and strong lines.
Electric Counterpoint by Christopher Wheeldon, a possible future contender for the directorship, is a work where four dancers are mirrored by digital versions of themselves to a soundtrack combing JS Bach and Steve Reich. Edward Watson and Eric Underwood please the audience with their sinuous movements, showing a stylised portrayal of the reality of a dancer’s journey before the performance with an angular movement language.
Rojo is perfect for Mats Ek’s Carmen - with humour and a spirited vigour, smoking a fat cigar, she enthrals and emasculates the men. This unique interpretation of the tale of Carmen and her lover Don Jose is set to Rodion Shchedrin’s inventive arrangement of Bizet’s tuneful music.