An English treasure
Frederick Ashton’s La Fille Mal Gardée is an English treasure and the Royal do it justice. Choreographed in 1960 and loosely based on Jean Dauberval’s scenario it has all the right ingredients: two brilliant central roles, plenty for the corps and a handful of superb character parts.
The performance on 5 May, streamed live and broadcast internationally, was also enjoyed by Swedish audiences and at the Opera House there was a distinctly festive atmosphere. An excellent cast was boosted by the delicious Natalia Osipova as Lise. Her powerful jump was a distinct asset and in the mime scene where she acts out her longing for marriage and children, her charm was palpable.
Steven McRae as Colas has given better technical performances (but this is nit-picking, his second best is better than most dancer’s best) but the subtlety he brought to the comedy moments, and there are many, was a joy. There was a wonderful rapport between the two who kept their cool in handling the plethora of props triumphantly.
Philip Mosley as Widow Simone brought pantomime relish to the clog dance while adding subtle touches throughout to make a very real mother. The role of Alain, the village ‘idiot’ is problematic in our more sensitive age and Paul Kay tackled this full-on making a feisty character while deflecting the pity through showing more affection for his red umbrella than for Lise.
The chickens, and Michael Stojko as the cockerel, were also top rate featuring some of the brightest new talent and adding to a highly enjoyable evening.
28 May, 2015