Lord of the Flies

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Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies

Posted: 12 Nov 2014

Matthew Bourne Ballet

Theatre Royal, Newcastle

7 November

 

Seeing a Matthew Bourne ballet is like choosing a chocolate without looking at the box. You might get a hazelnut cluster (my favourite) or a coffee (does anyone like them?) but whatever materialises it will be a surprise.

Tickets weren’t cheap, and four people from my row didn’t reappear after the 48-minute first act so clearly some of the audience felt they’d chosen the coffee. Bourne’s ballets break with the expected – and Lord of the Flies is no exception. Based on William Golding’s classic novel concerning the disintegration from civilisation when a group of schoolboys are marooned on an island, the story provides ample scope for the choreography to bring out the drama.

It’s exciting stuff and, fittingly for what is a well-worn school text, this production has more than a touch of the ‘Billy Elliott’ about it.

As explained in the post-show talk, this show is coming to the end of a 10-month run where, at each venue, the nucleus of professionals have been enhanced by a number of local dancers, some of whom have no previous experience. As a result, the performances remain fresh and the energy is raw.

As with the Matthew Bourne ‘Scottish ballet’ I saw in St. Petersburg in June, this was a remarkable performance where the pace never slackens. On that occasion I was accompanied by a Canadian who’d never been to ballet before and loved it. So even if you’re a traditional ballet enthusiast, be brave and go and see a Matthew Bourne performance – as long as you’re willing to take a mystery dip into the chocolate box.

 

Rob Mason  

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