Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
Newcastle Theatre Royal
Until Wednesday 3rd October 2018
It is three years since we were entertained by The Trocks at the Theatre Royal. We were impressed by the comedy elements at first but then it dawned on us that these are really good dancers who have amazing strength and agility. Needless to say, we were keen to see them again on World Ballet Day.
So who are the Trocks, you may ask? Well their website states: “Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo was founded in 1974 by a group of ballet enthusiasts for the purpose of presenting a playful, entertaining view of traditional, classical ballet in parody form and en travesti, Les Ballets Trockadero first performed in the late-late shows in Off-Off Broadway lofts. “
“The original concept The Trocks, as they are affectionately known, has not changed. It is a Company of professional male dancers performing the full range of the ballet and modern dance repertoire, including classical and original works in faithful renditions of the manners and conceits of those dance styles. The comedy is achieved by incorporating and exaggerating the foibles, accidents, and underlying incongruities of serious dance. The fact that men dance all the parts–heavy bodies delicately balancing on toes as swans, sylphs, water sprites, romantic princesses, angst-ridden Victorian ladies–enhances rather than mocks the spirit of dance as an art form, delighting and amusing the most knowledgeable, as well as novices, in the audiences.”
That’s enough of the official blurb. The US based group are currently touring the UK, with just 2 dates in Newcastle, as part of the Dance Consortium.
The show begins with the customary announcements about the cast changes. At this point the concept that they are a “Russian ballet company” comes across with a number of made up names. Nina Notgoodenov was unable to appear it seems.
The first act, Les Sylphides, is a fairly tame warm up of what is to follow. Throughout the piece, some fairly subtle incidents happen. At this stage it is more a comedy of errors as someone is knocked into or misses their cue. Quickly one appreciates both the quality of the dancing and the accuracy of the comic timing. For this is no slap dash compendium of loosely arranged skits. No, this show has the sharp choreography of, say, Les Dawson misplaying the piano. Indeed all of the right notes are there but not necessarily in the right order that you’d expect. The precision of the routines results in many good laughs throughout the show.
The show is made up of 3 thirty-minute acts and 2 intervals. Act 2 begins Harlequinade Pas De Deux – featuring Nina Enimnimynimova (Long Zou) and Boris Dumpkopf (Takaomi Yoshino) is an opportunity for the two performers to shine with both their dancing ability but also their comedy routines. It is clear that both aspect of the show move up a gear.
La Trovatiara Pas De Cinq has a North African feel as Eugenia Repelskii (Joshua Thake), Guzella Verbitskaya (Jack Furlong,Jr) and Helen Highwaters (Duane Gosa) run rings around their male counterparts Mikhail Mypansarov (Roberto Vega) and Sergey Legupski (Kevin Garcia). The addition of knives as props gives plenty of opportunity for more capers.
Act two then ends with Olga Supphozova (Robert Carter) in Dying Swan. Releasing a pound of feathers from under the dress as the majestic swan comes to the end of its life gives opportunity for milking both the moment and the applause.
Act three sees the performance style become more French during Paquita. This reaches a climax with individual performers performing many spins or being graceful as the ensemble at one level. At other, the comedy elements reach a peak too.
At the end of the day, the cast, and crew, worked really hard to pull together some amazing moves with sharply observed comedy. Watching some large lads spinning around like a doll on a music box is impressive in itself. To time the spin to arrive in a comedic situation is genius.
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo is very entertaining. It has tight choreography and regularly funny moments. Sharply observed, it is a show that I’d happily watch again. Recommended.
Review by Stephen Oliver
Review by Stephen Oliver
Photos: E Kauldhar
On The Web:
The Trocks plays at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Tuesday 2nd – Wednesday 3rd October 2018. Tickets are priced from £17.50 and can be purchased at www.theatreroyal.co.uk or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 (calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge).