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Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo: Programme 2 review at the Peacock Theatre, London – ‘exhibits their skills to perfection’

Chase Johnsey as Kitri in Don Quixote, part of the Trocks Programme 2. Photo: Costas Chase Johnsey as Kitri in Don Quixote, part of the Trocks Programme 2. Photo: Costas
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Can they get any better? Each time I see The Trocks their polished parodies of Russian ballet appear close to perfection. Never mind the laughter they generate, it is the mind-blowing technical achievement of an exclusively male cast dancing with all the grace and fleet-footed lightness of their female counterparts. Such is the calibre of the illusion that there are times even now that I forget I am watching men.

But illusion it is not. These guys really can do it. Skittering across the stage en pointe, delicate epaulement, feathery arabesques, 30-plus fouettes en tournant – they have it all. Plus the petty jealousies and rivalries on stage, the accidental collisions and miscues – all are present and correct. We laugh, we gasp, we wonder. It is what The Trocks do best.

And the pastiche is a result of close study of the classics. There is nothing cursory in their interpretation of Les Sylphides – which cross-fertilises Giselle with La Sylphide in a new ballet blanc; there is nothing superficial in their parody Go for Barocco, which delivers all the tropes of George Balanchine’s dance style from elasticated classicism to syncopated jazz steps with jaw-dropping precision. It is the cleverest and most accomplished piece on show. Then there is their wicked send up of Merce Cunningham’s avant-gardery with two musicians on stage creating musique concrete out of random objects while a trio of velvet-clad dancers attempt to follow the sonic line.

And what would a Trocks’ performance be without the Dying Swan solo? Now that Paul Ghiselin has passed the role on to Carlos Renedo (‘Maria Paranova’), it is set to be one of the evergreen staples of a Trock show, as feathers drop across the stage in a veritable snowstorm.

The concluding sequence from Don Quixote, complete with atmospheric backcloth depicting a Spanish town, is a vivid, vital and hugely enjoyable piece. The two gypsies spank their tambourines with enthusiasm as the romantic action unfurls in colourful costumes and spectacular dancing.

All hail the drag queens of ballet! Now in their 41st year they are drop-dead fabulous and an international treasure.

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The Trocks’ second programme of classics with a twist exhibits their skills to perfection