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La Fille Mal Gardee

Vadim Muntagirov and Laura Morera in La Fille Mal Gardee at the Royal Opera House, London. Photo: Tristram Kenton

Reviving La Fille Mal Gardee is always popular for the Royal Ballet. The funny, sunny romcom was created in 1960 by Frederick Ashton, and it has both dazzling direction and immense charm.

But Ashton does more than please us with the wayward daughter of the title marrying her true love, rather than the money man her mother has in mind. Along side this romantic love he shows us a mother’s love for her child – some of it misguided.

Will Tuckett is perfectly cast as Widow Simone, mother of the wayward Lise. Tuckett exactly catches Simone’s affection for her daughter and also her ambition that Lise should marry well, despite glaring clues about the wealthy Alain (Paul Kay). He is a simple soul, ill-suited to marriage, yet Simone soldiers on believing she is doing the best for her daughter.

Gary Avis’ Thomas, father of the hapless Alain, is less finely judged. Thomas is as keen to marry his son as Simone is her daughter, hoping it will make a man of his eternal child. However, Avis is more steamroller than impatient papa, unwilling to acknowledge his son is not marriage material.

In the lead roles Vadim Muntagirov is an elegant Colas, the young farmer in love with Lise, although he perhaps over plays Ashton’s subtle gestures and restrained style – some of his jumps and finishes are more Russian capital than English countryside. As Lise, Laura Morera is at her best in the acting scenes, such as when she imagines married life with Colas, and when she tells her mother he is the only man for her.

Welcome revival of the classic romcom, although some of the dancing is over emphasised and lacks the airy subtlety the choreographer intended


Royal Opera House
April 16, 2015
May 5, 2015
Press night
April 16, 2015
Ferdinand Herold, John Lanchbery (arranger)
Artistic director
Kevin O’Hare
Barry Wordsworth
Frederick Ashton
Osbert Lancaster
John B Read
Osbert Lancaster
Christopher Carr, Grant Coyle (staging), Samantha Raine (ballet mistress), Alexander Agadzhanov, Christopher Carr, Lesley Collier (principal coaching), Christine Collins (costume supervisor), Rubina Fernandes (assistant costume supervisor), Diane Willmott (production manager), Sarah Woodward (deputy stage manager), Madeleine Cootes (assistant stage manager), Grant Coyle (dance notator)
Stage manager
Johanna Adams Farley
Cast includes
Laura Morera, Vadim Muntagirov, Will Tuckett, Gary Avis, Paul Kay, Michael Stojko, Alastair Marriott
The Royal Ballet
Running time
2hrs 20mins