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Into the Ferment/The Planets

Published Thursday 23 June 2005 at 11:40 by Pat Ashworth

Young choreographers from BRB get a chance to exhibit their work in two stunning world premieres, a feast for the Birmingham audience at just £10 a ticket.

Exuberance and impishness mark Jonathan Payn’s first ballet, the tale of three Scottish lads taking refuge in an empty house in a storm and appropriating the whisky. They dance laddishness in all its manifestations, from throwing up to urinating against the wall, but the ballet also combines tenderness from The Girl and an irrepressible youthfulness. It is particularly expressed in some joyful flying leaps, especially in the folk tune that breaks at one point into Macmillan’s strident, urban score.

The seven choreographers for The Planets based their individual pieces by agreement on classical dance movements and with an overall costume design from Mark Simmonds. It is a triumph of cohesion, from the intensity and high drama of Mars with its slow, fearful and momentous advance of the dancers to the shivery tingle of Neptune. The absence of a set and the brilliant use of lighting and smoke effects gives a sense of the vastness of a universe still being created.

Each piece has a different personality. It is almost insidious to pick out highlights but David Bintley’s Venus, exquisitely danced by Jenna Roberts, Dominic Antonucci and Rory Mackay, is pure rapture in its rising, fluid movement. Mercury is a spinning, fizzing concoction, and Jupiter the most interesting interpretation of all with its depiction of prostitutes and remorseless journey into the jaws of hell. Simply magnificent.

Production information

The Hippodrome, Birmingham, June 15-16

James MacMillan/Gustav Holst
Jonathan Payn, Rosie Kay, David Bintley, Samara Downs, Michael Kopinski, Lei Zhao, Kit Holder, Jenny Murphy
Birmingham Royal Ballet
Cast includes:
Rory Mackay, Virginia de Gersigny, Elisha Willis, Iain Mackay, Molly Smolen, Kosuke Yamamoto
Running time:
1hr 45mins

Production information displayed was believed correct at time of review. Information may change over the run of the show.

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Run sheet

King's Head, Islington London
January 24-February 15 2014