Royal New Zealand Ballet, Tower Tutus on Tour.
Regent on Broadway, March 2,
Verdi Variations and Pinocchio.
Reviewed by EMMA GOODWIN.
Those who know the Royal New Zealand Ballet know that they love being on tour and watching the dancers perform Verdi Variations you can tell they are having the time of their lives. If you like your ballet classical like I do, this was a treat. Using the excitement and nuances of Verdi's music choreographer Greg Horsman showcased his company's talents.
Charming, delightful, quirky, funny, dramatic and commanding, the pieces inspired, captivated and amused. Exquisite tutus, tights and jackets allowed the grace, power and strength of each and every dancer to take centre stage. A purist's nirvana.
However, the strain of the performance and started to show towards the end with Jacob Cowan having a couple of foot faults – forgivable given the rest of his performance.
It has to be said that Yang Liu is an absolute find for RNZB. Her charm and personality can cast her ensemble partners into shadow.
Cast your mind to the villages and fields of Tuscany and the simplicity of life in the early 19th century. It's that simplicity that designer Julian Southgate was thinking of when he conjured up the set for Pinocchio. A table a fire place a tent and a carriage – he let the costumes tell the tale, and the dancers of course.
And what a tale they spun of an old man yearning for a son so he carved one out of wood. Rory Fairweather-Neylan as Pinocchio controlled his normally flexible limbs and added a stiffness demanding of the puppet he portrayed. Brendan Bradshaw and Lucy Balfour slunk and capered across the stage as the fox and the cat, and Dimitri Kleioris had the athleticism required for the arrogant and destructive Lampwick.
The colour, the size and the finery of the costumes gave a carnival atmosphere to the popular tale and lighting director Nigel Percy uses his skill to create mood and drama.
It's rare for the RNZB to miss a beat and the company is right on cue here.
- © Fairfax NZ News