With the cold wintery weather upon us, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Wednesday night than with Birmingham Royal Ballet’s beautifully bright La Fille mal gardée.
Choreographed by Frederick Ashton with music by Ferdinand Hérold (performed by Royal Ballet Sinfonia), it’s a wonderfully joyous ballet in BRB’s repertoire that will leave you with a real spring in your step. It’s funny, silly yet mightily impressive as you’re taken on the adventure of two lovers set at a farmyard in the country.
With straw hats, clog dancing, hay bales, chickens and even a pony – it is a production that proves to be a real delight. Birmingham Royal Ballet don’t step away from their grand production values as we are transported into the heart of the countryside through a sensationally summery set and colourful costumes.
Lise (Momoko Hirata) is the beautiful daughter of Simone (Michael O’Hare), a widow and owner of a prosperous farm. She is in love with Colas (Mathias Dingman), a young farmer, but her mother has much more ambitious plans for her daughter.
Momoko Hirata is a truly faultless performer and her flawless movement and radiant presence is sublime to watch on stage. Opposite her, Mathias Dingman is exceptional as the charming young farmer, his dazzling performance appears effortless as he performs with immense charisma. Their chemistry together is enchanting to watch and every pas de deux is completely mesmerising.
Bringing fantastic humour to the production is Michael O’Hare as the mother Simone. His characterisation is remarkable as he creates a pantomime dame style role. A particular highlight is his clogg dance which brings something really unique to the ballet. Similarly, the poor young Alain who is set up to marry Lise is someone we all can’t help but feel sorry for. James Barton is sensational in the role as he combines superb comedy timing with outstanding strength and skill in his movement.
Performed with exuberant energy from the whole company, La Fille mal gardée is a totally jubilant night at the theatre and the perfect ballet for first-timers, especially youngsters.
On tour across the UK, tickets and information can be found online here.