I saw this earlier in the year at the Royal Albert Hall, and gave it a stupendous review here. Would the touring version be a let down or more of the same?
Surprisingly perhaps, but I actually preferred this version. It suited a proscenium arch theatre much better than the vast Royal Albert Hall. It felt a much tighter show and the choreography worked much better I felt as it was framed by the theatre, whereas in the Royal Albert Hall, it dissipated.
The dancers were perfect as ever and a joy to watch. I know that the purists have tut-tutted that this show fuses different styles of dancing with ballet, but to me that is a good thing. Seeing the company dance ballroom with a balletic twist is breathtaking on occasions. What also is contagious is the sense of fun the dancers are having. Sometimes in ballet the smiles of the dancers can seem a bit forced, in this there was a genuineness from all.
The orchestra again were a real highlight, I wish a recording was available, as the orchestrations of Gershwin’s beautiful music are excellent and I’d love to be able to listen to them again. The orchestra was huge and their sound swelled and filled the theatre gorgeously. The quartet of singers provided stylised and brilliant harmonies. While this is a show most definitely about the dancers, it’s nice that the musicians get a chance to shine with a couple of spots just for the orchestra and singers.
The dancing and music complement each other perfectly, Rhapsody in Blue is still the highlight for me, seeing the orchestra and pianist bring one of my favourite pieces to life is great, but it’s the dancing that adds an extra dimension, as the choreography and costumes are majestic.
I’d certainly see it again (and again and again). I takes you to a magical place like few shows I’ve seen do. Full listings of where it’s playing for the rest of the year and 2012 are here.