Review: RNZB performs five short works

00:33, Aug 16 2014
VIBRANT: Laura Jones performs in the Royal New Ballet's show Allegro.

Allegro, Royal New Zealand Ballet

St James Theatre, Wellington

This vibrant season of five short works has something for everyone. If classical ballet is your preference, George Balanchine's Allegro Brillante (music, Tchaikovsky,) will not disappoint. Still as fresh today as it was in 1956, it is danced with vivacity and sure technique by all the cast.

Gillian Murphy and Kohei Iwamoto are an elegant principal couple. Her beautiful placing, epaulement and regal bearing suit Balanchine's sweeping choreography and she invests the role with a gentle tenderness, while Iwamoto impressed with his crisp technique.

Johan Kobborg's delightful confection Les Lutins (music, Bazzini and Wieniawski-Kreisler,) is a contest between three dancers - Rory Fairweather-Neylan, Arata Miyagawa, Lucy Green,) and two musicians. It demands virtuosic performances from all five and that is exactly what it got. The music is played live on piano (Michael Pansters,) (correct) and violin (Benjamin Baker.) Pansters delivers beautifully and Baker is superb. A gem.

This was the world premiere of Daniel Belton's stunning Satellites. To a compelling original score by Jan-Bas Bollen, (correct) Belton incorporates mesmericly beautiful motion graphics by Jac Grenfell, and fascinating kinetic sculpture by Jim Murphy. The costumes (Donnine Harrison,) are simple and apt and the splendid lighting is by Nigel Percy.


All facets of the production, including totally unified ensemble work from the Company, are in complete harmony. What remains is a feeling of wonderment at the vastness of the solar system and our small space within it.

However, Larry Keigwin's two works were slightly disappointing. Repetitive and overlong, Mattress Suite, (music, Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers Verdi, Etta James,) is comprised of six scenes about love affairs, with Three Ways being the most engaging. And the mattress did very well indeed.

Megalopolis fuses aspects of club culture, fashion and street life. With its spectacular costumes, (Fritz Mason,) and excellent lighting design, (Nicole Pearce/Burke Wilmore,) it was always going to be an audience favourite. But in spite of the Company's energetic performances and obvious enjoyment, it felt oddly underwhelming.

This production is the last for Artistic Director Ethan Stiefel and Principal Dancer Gillian Murphy. During his three year tenure, the Company has grown technically and artistically. Together they have role modelled standards of excellence that audiences will never forget. 

The Dominion Post